Turning Point

Ernest Shaw’s Thurgood Marshall Portrait in State Capital Expands Maryland’s Story

Ernest Shaw’s “Young Thurgood”, courtesy of the artist.

When MICA faculty member Ernest Shaw’s portrait of the late Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall was unveiled at the Maryland Senate Building in Annapolis earlier this year, the state moved forward in expanding how its story is told.

For most of its history, Maryland’s governing body was made up of white men — and so the visual narratives told within state government buildings through artwork were centered on their experiences. Even as voting expanded to a wider population, which ushered in more diverse lawmakers in Annapolis, the hallways and walls mostly stayed the same. The fact was especially noticeable to Black lawmakers when they regularly passed a portrait of Cecilus Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore and a likely slaveholder.

In January, MICA faculty member Ernest Shaw’s Young Thurgood was hung in the place that once housed Calvert’s portrait. In Young Thurgood, Shaw — who hails from the same Baltimore neighborhood as Marshall — depicts a youthful version of the national icon, basing the portrait on a photo taken after Marshall won a 1936 Court of Appeals case that desegregated the University of Maryland Law School. Known for his portraits and murals, Shaw – who says that he sees teaching as an artistic medium — also teaches in MICA’s First Year Experience program.

For more information. continue reading at The Washington Post.