25 Photos for 25 Years of Philadelphia's ‘History of Immigration' Mural

Mural Arts Philadelphia founder Jane Golden spent a morning with NBC10 to take a look at her massive "The History of Immigration" mural on its 25th Anniversary. The mural at 2nd and Callowhill streets was painted by Golden and young artists.

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Twenty five years, nearly to the day, after artist Jane Golden helped to dedicate the massive "The History of Immigration" mural, the founder and executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia looked back on her iconic work.
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The mural sits on the corner of 2nd and Callowhill Streets, next to the ramp connecting Interstate 95 to the Vine Street Expressway (Interstate 676).
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Golden and her team chose this wall to discourage graffiti artists from painting their reputation onto the building. Before the mural, this part of the mural was known as a 'rep' wall.
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The mural began as an anti-graffiti campaign as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network (now Mural Arts Philadelphia). In fact, no part of the mural has ever been graffiti'd since its completion, Golden said.
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The images are on walls facing various directions and were painted on what was then a food supplier.
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The mural, which runs nearly an entire city block, works somewhat in chronological order.
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The start of the mural shows Native Americans symbolizing them as the first people in America.
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When painting the mural, Golden wanted to capture the immigration experiences of people from all cultures, including African Americans who didn't choose to come to America but were forced her in slavery.
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The section of the wall on the left of this picture symbolizes the journey of men and women from Latino countries and Puerto Rico.
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One of the most important aspects of the mural was to include the stories of immigrants from various situations and backgrounds.
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"We thought about the values of our country when including the Statue of Liberty," Golden said.
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The image of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is used to symbolize the "dream" of all immigrants and the civil rights battle for equality.
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Research was an important part of making sure they told the true stories of America's immigrants.
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Artists who worked on the mural also played the reporter role. They researched the story of immigrants from Ellis Island, including children.
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After studying the farm workers movement in California, the team decided to represent their struggle in this portion of the mural.
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Latino immigrants have faced challenges entering the United States for centuries.
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The portraits used in this mural were a combination of families who provided pictures to the artists and the research they compiled throughout the project.
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The immigrants that have come through Philadelphia and the United States arrive from different cultures and backgrounds.
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"I'm hoping they get a snapshot of people's journey to this country," Golden said about the lasting message of the mural.
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Golden described the overall look of the mural as "the visualization of democracy."
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After nine years of existence the team decided to revisit the mural, updating the mural in 2002.
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Golden was thrilled to be able to look back on one of her most famous pieces after 25 years.
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Golden told NBC10 that if she could change one thing about the piece, she would focus it more on the experience of those in the city of Philadelphia, rather than a larger sense of American immigration.
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"I look forward to the day that we can tinker with this to what's going on in today's world" Golden added.
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