Buildings in Durham, North Carolina, are still adorned with murals of the face and words of legendary activist and author (and onetime Durhamite), the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray, produced in 2007–08 by local residents and CDS visiting artist Brett Cook. For us, the murals are wonderful visual reminders not only of Murray, but of a unique collaborative documentary/public art project that merged practice and theory, expanded the university classroom experience to include the broader local community, and promoted visual and cultural literacy among students and Durham residents.

Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life grew out of local conversations about neighborhood goals and was a project of CDS, the Office of Community Affairs at Duke University, and the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project. Besides the murals themselves, Face Up included site selection for their installation, an artist’s residency, an archive of documentary materials based on interviews with community members and historical research, a gallery exhibit and catalog, an undergraduate course, and a celebration and mural tour by bus and bike at the conclusion of the project.

Learn more about:

*Brett Cook, whose CDS residency included a spring 2008 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professorship in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke and UNC–Chapel Hill

*The Duke Human Rights Center’s Pauli Murray Project