Experience the tour in-person or online.
The four-part mural tour series is in Atlanta, Georgia and celebrates Dorothy Bolden. The murals span four buildings — in a five-mile radius within or close to Vine City — that tell different parts of Dorothy Bolden’s story. We honor her contribution to the civil rights movement, her voter registration efforts and her leadership in the fight for domestic worker dignity and rights.
While domestic work makes all other work possible and is critical to households and to the US economy, our work has been economically and culturally devalued for far too long. In this mural we see wings as a symbol of Black domestic worker power and importance. We lift up the leadership and courage of Black domestic workers over many generations that have paved the way for our contemporary movement.
Today, We Dream in Black continues leading in this transformative vision. Throughout the country, members are employed as nannies, house cleaners and caregivers to elders and people with disabilities. WeDiB’s growing base of members ranges from young workers to elders; members who are US-born and immigrants from across the African diaspora; people of multiple gender identities and sexualities; and individuals of varied class backgrounds and abilities. Check out the Unbossed Agenda to learn more.
In this mural, Dorothy Bolden stands boldly with the galaxies of space swirling within her, representing divine power and wisdom. On the right, she shakes hands with Governor Jimmy Carter, and on the left, modern-day domestic workers stand beside her. On both sides of her are MARTA buses. Dorothy Bolden built political power and reached other housecleaners, nannies and caregivers on the MARTA buses they took everyday to get to work; she knew the racism they faced on the buses and in their employers’ homes and turned the buses themselves into de facto union meetings, talking to other passengers about their labor rights and what they deserved. From educational reform, transportation justice to labor rights, she cared about all aspects of her community. As scholar Premila Nadasen noted, “these ‘freedom buses’ were comparable to the rural freedom schools…sites for political education, organizing and consciousness-raising.”
Today, we continue to reach domestic workers at MARTA bus stations during commuting hours. Thanks to We Dream in Black’s organizing efforts we’ve registered thousands of Atlanta residents to vote and are building political power amongst Black domestic workers to transform our industry, disrupt systemic harm and fight for safety nets and benefits so our communities can thrive.
For folks visiting the murals in Atlanta, each location is accessible by public transportation and MARTA bus stops. For supporters outside of Atlanta, stay tuned for the virtual tour led by WeDiB member leaders.
“This mural is bold and vibrant, just like the words Dorothy Bolden once spoke. We honor this phenomenal woman’s undeniable contribution and history.” – Charity Hamidullah
Dorothy Bolden spoke about how much she loved her work and the multiple roles domestic workers take on inside of the workplace. And she also believed respect, decent working conditions and fair pay were integral goals of the civil rights and domestic workers movement. This begins with valuing the essential role of caregivers.
Today, the pandemic has shown us how essential care is to keep our society and economy going. It has also highlighted the challenges that we face doing this work. As essential workers, caregivers deserve to work in a caring economy. As we rebuild our economy, this is a critical and urgent time to ensure that all domestic workers have the protections they deserve. Care jobs should be good jobs. Investing in quality jobs means that all people can access the care they deserve, including those who care for others.
As Ms. Kay, member of WeDIB in middle Georgia noted, “I’m proud to be a domestic worker. I am an essential person and come from a long legacy of caregivers in my family. We are fighting for a better future to set up for ourselves and our children.”
Update September 2022: This mural is no longer at this location.
On the wall adjacent to Care is Essential is the Dear Domestic Workers Thank You mural. In 2020, We Dream in Black Georgia commissioned this mural also with Charity Hamidullah, and was painted along with the support of We Dream in Black members as a way to thank domestic workers for their crucial work, especially during COVID when they have had to risk their lives to take care of others. The mural reveal was part of the Unbossed Agenda launch: We Dream in Black’s organizing directive to give power back to the visions of Black domestic workers. Dear Domestic Workers Thank you mural inspired this year’s public art campaign during Dorothy Bolden month in October to connect the past to the present.
Have you thanked a domestic worker today? Learn more about WeDiB’s campaigns and receive the latest news.
“Look Ms. Bolden up, down there. She’ll help you.”
Dr. Martin Luther King and leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) would often say when organizers wanted to build greater legislative and political power with Black working class community in the South. Dorothy Bolden knew that civil and economic rights were interconnected and domestic workers’ labor needed to be valued and recognized as a vital part of the workforce.
Yet Dorothy Bolden’s story and strategic achievements merit much more visibility.
Located in Vine City, where Dorothy Bolden grew up and also raised her own family, this mural was designed to uplift her story and shows her contribution to the civil rights movement, her voter registration efforts, and her leadership in the fight for domestic workers’ dignity and rights. Mrs. Bolden is a Vine City legend and was a catalyst in her community. She was an everyday woman in the neighborhood who decided to make a change and speak up. She’s a hidden figure that not enough people know about.
This mural celebrates her life and accomplishment throughout the years and how transformative her dedication was to the domestic worker movement. Today, we know the spirit of Dorothy Bolden is all around us. Her spirit lives in the members and leadership of We Dream in Black. We honor the long and powerful tradition of Black domestic workers organizing to secure justice and dignity – in the workplace and in broader society, and the pivotal role Black domestic worker women in the South have, and continue to play, in changing this country.
Learn more about We Dream in Black and our Unbossed Agenda.Learn More Learn More
If you are a Black nanny, caregiver, CNA, or housecleaner, join We Dream in Black.Join Now Join Now
Support NDWA and We Dream in Black as we build power for Black domestic workers.Donate Today Donate Today
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