More than just a beautiful transformation

On a freezing day in early December, when we asked Edreys Wajed to talk about his experience working on the Freedom Wall, we expected to hear the corrugated stone was a difficult surface, and that it was an honor to depict some of the 28 African American dignitaries on each panel rounding the corner of Ferry and Michigan.

While both of those were true, Edreys and Truey V, visual and hip hop artist and Rise reporter, instead discussed the wall’s meaning and purpose, its location on the east side of the real “Wall” in Buffalo (Main St) and the history of Michigan Ave, part of the historic underground railroad. Just looking at the aesthetics surrounding the wall from the rotting light poles and sidewalks in disrepair, there is clearly no secret regarding where the city has preferred to spend its infrastructure dollars since the 1950s.

We divided the interview into two parts. The first discusses the broad undertones of the Freedom Wall and its mission to bring people together and think about equality not just in the past but in Buffalo today.

The second reveals how the project was put together initially, and how indeed that cement grid was painted upon.

We hope you’ll read up on the 28 dignitaries shown in both videos above, and get to Michigan and Ferry to see their incredible work first hand.