On February 1, Montclair Public Library hosted a short screening and presentation on Montclair Artist Don Miller and his “The King Mural.” The mural, painted in his studio in Montclair, was installed at the National Library In Washington, D.C. On August 27, 1985, many of Dr. King’s closest associates and historic civil rights figures came to visit Miller to participate in an extraordinary taping for Montclair resident and TV personality Gil Noble’s ABC TV show, “Like It Is” with a special episode, “The Making of the King Mural,” using the mural as a backdrop.
Several of the historic figures portrayed in the artwork came to Montclair for the mural: Rosa Parks, the heroine of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as did Dr. Caroline Goodman, the mother of the slain CORE worker Andrew Goodman, Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, Mrs. Dorothy Cotton from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Atlanta’s Mayor Andrew Young, Rev C.T. Vivian and Rev Wyatt Tee Walker. The great American pianist Don Shirley’s elegant music often served as an inspiration for the artist for the creation of this monumental tribute to Dr. King.
The artist’s son Craig Miller, Dr. Judy Miller, and local historian Frank Gerard Godlewski led the presentation and unveiling of a smaller version of the mural, which now hangs on the second floor of the library.
“Thanks to the Miller Family and the Montclair Rotary Club, The Mural is permanently on display in the Montclair Public Library. The mural that Don Miller created in a studio in Montclair serves as a tribute and a learning tool for this important legacy of History that Montclair shares with American History, ” says Frank Gerard Godlewski.
A Montclair Black History Overview discussion by Frank Gerard Godlewski, which will include the history of the “The King Mural,” will be aired on Montclair TV34 throughout the month.