Days after Cecil B. Moore mural vandalism, Philadelphia Freedom Fighters come together to thank repair efforts

Cherri Gregg
February 20, 2020 - 5:13 pm
The Philadelphia Freedom Fighters who once worked with lawyer and activist Cecil B. Moore celebrated less than a week after the mural of the beloved mentor was defaced.

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: Feb. 26, 3:30 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Cecil B. Moore mural in North Philadelphia has been repaired just days after someone spray painted a racial slur on the portrait of the civil rights icon. Another mural is now in the works.

"This was disheartening, but the way they did it and as fast as they had done it, it was a godsend. And they did a wonderful job," said Philadelphia Freedom Fighters president Karen Asper-Jordan.

They were outraged that someone who in surveillance video, released on Feb. 26, appears to be African-American spray painted a racial slur on the mural at 17th and Jefferson streets, which depicts portraits of Moore.

But she and other activists who worked with Moore as teenagers during the 1960s rallied at the mural of their beloved mentor Thursday morning say thank you.

"It took everybody: the community, the police department, the Mural Arts department," she said.

She's grateful that City Council President Darrell Clarke spoke out and Mural Arts Philadelphia quickly sent a team to repair the damage.

"I would drive by each day to check on it and take a photo," said Asper-Jordan, "and I could see the fading over time, just over the course of a day or two."

"It doesn't look like anything happened to it at all, it's just remarkable," Freedom Fighter Kenneth Salaam said.

He hopes this incident shines more light on the legacy of Moore, who helped desegregate city pool and Girard College, and brought jobs to black communities.

"People had respect for him and they were happy that he was standing up when others were not standing up," Salaam added.

Corin Wilson, who works in the community murals department of Mural Arts, says their next focus is a mural on Moore's work with the Freedom Fighters.

"So more young people can know about his legacy, more people can understand the importance of voting and importance of civic engagement in our communities," Wilson said. 

That mural effort will kick off in the fall.

Philadelphia police pulled surveillance video from over the weekend, but so far, no suspect has been identified.