On January 27, 2020, Atlanta City Council members and residents of District 3 gathered together at the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new community mural honoring Rev. Joseph E. Boone and Ivory Lee Young, Jr. Located at 537 Joseph E. Boone Blvd. NW, Joseph McKinney’s, The Seeds that are Planted, spans over 5000 square feet and is one of the largest art displays in the city of Atlanta and the largest in District 3. The captivating work features portraits of both Boone and Young in their prime.
Joseph McKinney’s, The Seeds that are Planted
“See, what makes this mural so powerful is that it evokes the curiosity of spirit,” says Antonio Brown of Atlanta City Council, District 3. “No matter the age or the person, it allows the community to see beyond their conditions and be inspired to dream. Kids walking home from school will look up and see this mural and be led to ask a simple but powerful question: ‘Who is that?’ And, in that single dynamic moment, a legacy will be forged.”
Antonio Brown, Atlanta City Council, District 3 leads the ribbon cutting ceremony honoring Joseph E. Boone and Ivory Lee Young Jr.
Speaking to the impact of McKinney’s work, Brown said, “Whereas art has the ability to help us find ourselves, his paintings represent stories that evoke emotion and encourage viewers to embrace the prospects of change.”
Alethea W. Boone, wife of the late Rev. Joseph E. Boone, and Rev. Shalise Steele-Young, wife of the late Ivory Lee Young, Jr., each gave remarks on behalf of their respective families.
Alethea W. Boone speaks to attendees at ceremony honoring late husband, Rev. Joseph E. Boone.
“He was a man, just an ordinary man, but he had an extraordinary vision,” says Alethea W. Boone of her late husband. “Jo Boone grew up to be a person with unwavering courage, consistency, and committed. I call him the man with the three C’s.” Recognizing the Civil Rights activists present at the event, Mrs. Boone acknowledged “the foot-soldiers, the ground crew, and all of those who came along with you. Had it not been for you, Jo would not have the recognition that he has today.”
Rev. Shalise Steele-Young gives thanks to those who uplifted her in the wake of her husbands passing.
“For many of you who knew Ivory, Ivory sometimes wore his emotions on his sleeve,” says Rev. Shalise Steele-Young, “and he would often say, ‘Thank you for the seeds that you’ve sown in me.’ When he met my family, and when he met friends and different elders that I admired and that inspired me, he would say to them, ‘Thank you for the seeds that you’ve sown in my wife.’ And so, for this to be said, The Seeds that are Planted, that was truly the Holy Spirit at work.”
Joseph McKinney is awarded proclamation by Atlanta City Council.
After being awarded an Atlanta City Council proclamation by council members Michael Julian Bond and Antonio Brown, artist Joseph McKinney expressed his gratitude to the City of Atlanta, to his family, and to the various artists who contributed to completing The Seeds that are Planted.
“You know, we’re here to celebrate two great men—Joseph E. Boone and Ivory Lee Young—men who have been selfless and dedicated their lives to service and the community,” says Joseph McKinney. “It has been an honor to carry on their legacies through my art.”
Joseph McKinney, Alethea W. Boone, and members of Atlanta City Council pose beneath portrait of Rev. Joseph E. Boone.
In addition to Michael Julian Bond and Antonio Brown, other Atlanta City Council members in attendance were: Andre Dickens, Post 3 at Large; Jennifer N. Ide, District 6; Marci Collier Overstreet, District 11; Joyce Sheperd, District 12; and Matt Westmoreland, Post 2 at Large.
Other speakers at the event included: Colette Haywood, Vice Chair of NPU-L; Jestin Johnson, Atlanta Deputy Chief Operating Officer; Bishop John Lewis, Vine City Civic Association, Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs; Vanessa Manley, sister of Ivory Lee Young, Jr.; and Larry Vincent, Atlanta Area Manager at Georgia Power.
Retired Sergeant Major Ivory Lee Young, Sr. poses under portrait of late son, Ivory Lee Young, Jr., with daughter, Vanessa Manley, and Atlanta City Council’s Michael Julian Bond, Post 1 At Large.
“The seeds have been planted, everyone,” says McKinney. Referencing the tragic passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant the previous day, McKinney urged, “As we found out yesterday, life is short, so live everyday. So whatever you’re passionate about—whatever you want to do—do it.”
Located at 537 Joseph E. Boone Blvd. NW, The Seeds that are Planted showcases vivid colors and thought provoking imagery.