Welcome to Black Main Street

A new series of sidewalk murals by TJ Mundy takes viewers on a historical stroll down Raleigh’s historic corridor
by Colony Little | photographs by Hannah Kaufman

As Downtown Raleigh continues its post-quarantine re-awakening, a unique mural project invites residents and visitors to acquaint themselves with the neighborhood’s past.

Along Hargett street between South Blount and South Wilmington, artist TJ Mundy painted a series of sidewalk murals that commemorate Black entrepreneurship in Raleigh. After being inspired by the protests demanding justice for George Floyd, Mundy wanted to shine a light on the Black businesses that lined this segregated corridor of Downtown — which thrived in spite of Jim Crow laws that were designed to disenfranchise them.  

Among the businesses that occupied the area during the turn of the century are doctors, dentists, pharmacists, law firms, financial institutions, and fraternal organizations. Through research, Mundy uncovered their stories and placed murals near their subjects’ original locations with arrows pointing to their specific location. 

Brief written narratives, painted to resemble historical markers, are brought to life with painted symbols that illustrate the historical significance of Mundy’s featured subjects. 

The mural project was sponsored by Raleigh ArtsBeats, a partnership between the City of Raleigh’s Department of Transportation and Raleigh Arts, who funded the site specific murals and provided materials. Mundy is one of 10 artists selected this spring to create sidewalk installations throughout the city. Through this project Mundy hopes that viewers are inspired to learn more. “I would like everyone who sees this mural to share what they’ve learned with someone else and use the learning experience as a catalyst to seek more information on Black history that isn’t publicly shared or presented to them,” Mundy says. “I hope people take this as a reminder of Black excellence and as an inspiration to share that history of excellence with more people.”