The pinnacle of this tribute is the creation of a mural overlooking Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia. The mural is a compelling visual narrative that weaves different moments from Higginbotham’s life together around his juristic portrait. Rich hues of blue and gold were chosen to catch the sun on the building’s north facing facade. The mural will stand as a reminder of Higginbotham’s singular voice of moral leadership. It will be located on the Mercy LIFE West Building at 4508 Chestnut Street and installed October 2022.
Philadelphia artist Shawn Theodore (b. 1970, Germany) was chosen to create the mural design through collaborative input from partners and the Higginbotham family. Theodore is an award-winning photographer with a diverse practice. His practice converges in the commercial, editorial, fine art/photography, illustration, and academic sectors.
Theodore was awarded the prestigious PDN’s 30 New & Emerging Photographers to Watch (2019), the Getty Images / ARRAY ‘Where We Stand’ grant, and a grant from the Knight Foundation for ‘A Dream Deferred’. He is a two-time nominee of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship, and a nominee of the Magnum Foundation Fund, as well as a current trustee of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and a former trustee of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. Theodore is Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Arts, and he lives and works in Philadelphia.
Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Higginbotham had the booming voice and broad shoulders to go with immense intellectualism. He was a trusted advisor for U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; a legal scholar and trustee at the University of Pennsylvania; a recipient of more than 70 honorary degrees; and a civil rights pioneer who spurred human rights forward through decades of public service.
Read the full oral history exploring the Judge’s life and legacy by Malcolm Burnley.
CLIPS FROM THE MURAL DESIGN UNVEILING
COMMUNITY PAINT DAYS
Take part in the creation of this mural! Join a community paint day on October 7th. Visit the get involved page to learn more.
Header photo by Theodore Wyss-Flamm