Mural painted in East Lansing honors civil rights legend Dr. Robert Green

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A new mural in East Lansing honors a man who brought various forms of racial equality to the area.

Ndubisi Okoye — who has painted murals in Detroit, Oak Park, Grand Rapids and Atlanta — applied to paint “First Class,” a mural in Dr. Robert Green’s honor.

“He’s a civil rights icon, just a legendary person who went to Michigan State,” Okoye said. “He did so many things, even affected me back in Detriot — where we are both from.”

The East Lansing Art Selection Panel said they opened applications for the mural to highlight the city’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Green said the city wasn’t always so committed to the values ​​of equality.

“Well, East Lansing is a very different community than it was when I was there,” Green recalled. “When I was there, Blacks couldn’t buy homes in East Lansing.”

With the help of others, Green became the first Black homeowner in East Lansing.

“That happened because there were others who helped me get a home,” Green said. “I didn’t get that house on Bessemaur Drive by myself.”

As times changed, his impact on the city became more visible.

“I never feel that I’m so important because they named a school after me,” Green said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy about that.”

Read: Pinecrest Elementary renamed to honor civil rights leader

Okoye hopes his art will inspire some of the next great leaders.

“He impacted a lot of things for Black and brown people,” Okoye said.

The mural is expected to be completed by the East Lansing Arts Festival.

More information on “First Class” can be found on the official City of East Lansing website here.

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