Flying Home: Harlem Heros and Heroines

November 9, 2009

Faith Ringgold is an award-winning artist, writer and teacher who was born and raised in New York City. In 1992, as part of the city’s Arts for Transit program, the Metropolitan Transit Authority commissioned her to create two thirty foot mosaic murals for the 125th street subway station platform — one of the busiest locations in Harlem.

The murals were inspired by a song by Lionel Hampton, Flying Home Harlem that Ringgold heard when she was a child. They depict iconic men, women and places that were influential in Harlem’s history.

“I love every one of these people,” Ringgold told the MTA. “I wanted to share those memories, to give the community – and others just passing through – a glimpse of all the wonderful people who were part of Harlem. I wanted them to realize what Harlem has produced and inspired.”

The mosaics were fabricated in a small town near Venice, Italy and installed at the stop for the 2 and 3 express in December 1996. On her Web site, Ringgold says, “When you are in New York, go to see them. And then have dinner at Sylvia’s, the famous soul food restaurant just a block away.”

IMG_1134
Mural in the 125th Street subway station

IMG_1117
The Harlem Opera House

IMG_2684_2
Madame C.J. Walker and her College of Hair Culture

IMG_2687
Abyssinian Baptist Church

IMG_1115_2
Billie Holiday

IMG_1116
The Ink Spots and the Apollo Theater

IMG_1121_2
Marian Anderson

IMG_2680_2_2
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of Negro Women

IMG_2684_2_2
Jesse Owens and his Olympic gold medals

Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold’s blog
MTA Arts for Transit: 125th Street
Sylvia’s


%d bloggers like this: