Artist of DART’s MLK Jr. Station Connects You to a Legacy

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Although the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday comes around once a year, you can find that, even at a train station, King’s legacy lives on.

As you hop on board the Green Line and arrive at DART’s MLK, Jr. Station you’ll find scenes of another place and time.

Windscreens, featuring images from local photographer R.C. Hickman, showcase people and events of Southern Dallas during the civil rights era. In contrast, columns with black and white tiles echo African design elements.

We met up with Emmanuel Gillespie, artist of DART’s MLK, Jr. Station, and talked about how the station’s design connects you to a story about uniting people and communities.

“Storytelling is the root of the overall design,” Gillespie said. “The communities came together and gave their stories and shared their past with me.”

Gillespie said connections to Africa and African American heritage themed the station, which not only offers a way to get around town, but creates a pride in heritage, learning and seeing symbols and images of the past and present.

Once at the station, you can walk over to catch a bus via the “Walk of Respect,” a pathway showcasing symbols from African kuba cloths – a form of textile art, similar to tapestries – that represent unity, respect, wisdom and understanding.

Sculptor Steve Teeters created two 17-foot African “Talking Drums,” which you’ll notice as you leave the train station and head toward the “Walk of Respect.” Historically, these drums helped carry stories and long-distance communication.

As the station’s artwork communicates a theme of passing ideas from one generation to the next, it connects you to the ideas and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., which live on today.

“As an African American, and an artist, I think it was important to bring a personal perspective to the overall design with the relationship to MLK,” Gillespie said. “I am humbled and honored to have been a part of this project.”

To learn more about how MLK, Jr. Stations connects you to places in and around Dallas, visit DART.org.

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