Big Nine Legends 


2012 60' x 18' mixed media mural

Site: Live & Let Live Barber Shop (MLK Blvd at Palmetto St.)

Artists: 14 teens in foster care & MLK Neighborhood residents

Partners: Children’s Home/Chambliss Shelter, Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, MLK Neighborhood Association, Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults, Tennessee Arts Commission, Virgil McGee

Description: Big Nine Legends depicts thirteen of Chattanooga’s most influential musicians to ever grace Martin Luther King Boulevard, formerly named 9th Street, once the center of Chattanooga’s thriving African-American community and a national hub of blues and jazz music known as the “Big Nine”.

The featured musicians were chosen by neighborhood residents and a team of musical historians, including Dr. Clark White, a well-known performer and UTC Sociology professor, and the late William Price, a bassist and member of many bands who played the “Big Nine” circuit.

Inspired by Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden, teens in foster care created collages of the musicians using photos, texture and drawings. Professional artists then carefully designed a posh night club scene to contextualize the musician figures. 

Big Nine Legends was funded in part by Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and Tennessee Arts Commission and is part of Mark Making’s MLK Boulevard Mural Series.