Pratico, with her helper, RJ, outside Hardy Middle School in West Jackson. Image: L. Pratico

The Jackson Public School District welcomed city leaders and community partners to unveil an inspiring and empowering mural at Hardy Middle School in West Jackson.

Depicting Margaret Walker with a young reader in shadow, the mural, painted by Girl Noticed‘s Lori Pratico of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, celebrates the award-winning Jackson writer of “For My People.”

Funded in part by the Greater Jackson Arts Council and Visit Jackson, the mural will be included in an upcoming public art map produced by Visit Jackson.

“…(T)his presentation is about the celebration of beautiful soul, the celebration of a very creative talented person who resided right here in this city,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

“And so we honor the legacy of Margaret Walker Alexander. But we’re also honored to stand here today to represent to you (the students of Hardy Middle School), that you can achieve anything that you want to achieve. That you stand on fertile ground and right here in Jackson, Mississippi, that there was a literary genius her made her mark on the world. And you’re capable of doing the exact thing.”

“Art inspires people and we’re so excited to inspire these young people at Hardy Middle School, specifically the girls,” said Visit Jackson CEO and President Rickey Thigpen. “Because, as we know at Visit Jackson, when you build strong young people, you build strong communities and we need to do that to prepare Jackson for the future.”

City leaders and community partners, including Mayor Lumumba (3rd from left), GJAC’s Janet Scott (4th from right) and Margaret Walker Center Research Center at JSU Director, Dr. Robert Luckett.