I met with Gregory Smith and Dorian Sylvain at Hyde Park Art Center on Wednesday (February 1st). We discussed scheduling and Dorian's plan for the mural we're set to complete at Dyett High School over the next few months. Dorian plans to work with three different topics:
- The life of Walter Henri Dyett, a violinist and music educator for whom the school is named. He served as music director and assistant music director at Phillips High School and DuSable High School, two of Chicago's predominantly African-American high schools, from 1931 until his death in 1962.
- The Great Migration of African-Americans from southern to northern states (many of them to cities like Chicago) between 1910 and 1970 following segregation, an increase in the spread of racist ideology by white supremacist groups, widespread lynching, and lack of social and economic opportunities in the South.
- The attempts made to close Dyett High School, along with 50 other Chicago high schools, by Chicago Public Schools and the Board of Education in 2011. These attempts were protested by a group of education activists who went on a hunger strike for 19 days in August 2015, as it was the only open-access high school still serving Bronzeville. CPS decided that September to reopen the school as Dyett High School for the Arts.
Dorian and I plan to meet at the school next Tuesday to see the space and discuss the ways we'll be able to alter it.