BALTIMORE — A local artist pays tribute to the rich and storied history of the Negro League and his work was displayed at Oriole park in the Birdland Mural series. Artist Ernest Shaw who is a native of West Baltimore and a product of Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore School for the Arts, Morgan State University, and Howard University created the mural in collaboration with Open Walls Baltimore Curator GAIA.
Shaw's creation was unveiled during the Orioles last home stand. The mural is located in the Orioles legends park beyond the bullpens in center field. The mural features Hall of Famers Roy Campanella who is regarded as one of the premier catchers in baseball history, Biz Mackey who spent two years with the Baltimore Black Sox and four with the Elite Giants as a player-manager, Jud Wilson a hard-hitting third baseman who slugged his way to the hall of fame over a 21-year career, and Ernest Burke who was born in Havre de Grace and was a pitcher and outfielder.
The mural also features a Sankofa bird in a baseball glove and according to Shaw the Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol, created by the Akan of West Africa. The Sankofa is a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. The Sankofa bird illustrates the importance of remembering and honoring the past and using that information for positive progress moving forward, a concept deeply ingrained in honoring the history of the Negro Leagues.
Shaw credits his hometown with having taught him the meaning of perseverance, community, and integrity.
Shaw's mural is one of the many installations that have been unveiled at Camden Yards since the mural series began in 2019. The mural series also includes graffiti writer Adam Stab whose installation is located under the video board between the center field bleachers and Eutaw street.
Female artists have also showcased their work including Baltimore native Megan Lewis and Red swan walls, a women-owned, Baltimore-based mural studio run by Hanna Moran and Lindy Swan, as part of the Orioles’ yearlong celebration of women’s equality and girls’ empowerment in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment in August 2020.
As the mural series continues there will be a mural paying tribute to Baltimore native, World War II veteran, and Hall of Fame pitcher Leon Day who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995.