"Voices of Freedom" sculpture by artist, Littleton Alston, on the Public Art Omaha website.

The base of the sculpture is in the shape of a pyramid, symbolizing African achievement and a universal wonder of the world.  It embodies Skinner school images, which makes reference to education being the foundation of society.  Each panel on the base depicts a segment of the school; the arts, technology, administration, and the classical profile portrait of Dr. Skinner.

The figures in the sculpture are on a journey through time.  Freedom from slavery and oppression move the lower figures upward.  Dr. Skinner is holding the book of history and from its pages spring figures representing the struggle for freedom.  Harriet Tubman spreads her hands above the suffering slave to gather him onto the Underground Railroad.  The large busts of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln represent the true vision and struggle to right a nation’s sins.  But once the Civil War began and the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves, families (fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents) sought out each other.  The woman and child being lifted by the freed man represent this.  The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry soldier holding the flag represents the Civil War.  The soldier from World War I represents the Harlem Hell Fighters who were decorated for heroism in battles across Europe.  They were fighting and dying for freedoms they themselves did not have in America.  Onward and upward the jazz musician holding the trumpet represents the post war era.  He also represents celebration as in Gabriel blowing the horn.  At the apex of the sculpture is Dr. Martin Luther King, the modern day Moses.  Dr. King gathered people on the Washington Mall as we remember his “I Have A Dream” speech.  Arising into the air is a woman with a newborn child holding the future to the sky in hope that this child’s life would never experience the pain of the past.


"John Henry" mural painted by Artist-in-Residence, Littleton Alston, with the students of Dr. Eugene Skinner Magnet Center (1994)

"Like a shooting star, John Henry was born to move like a blaze of light."


"John Henry was swinging his sledgehammer and breaking boulders for roads as smooth as ribbon."


"Nothing could stop John Henry - no boulder, no mountain, no steam drill."


There is official history and there is oral history. It happened, people remembered it and passed it down. Between 1870-1873, the Big Bend Tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was built in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia. One day a man brought an experimental steam drill to the site. John Henry raced the steam drill to prove that a man could dig faster. He won the race but died from exhaustion at the moment of his victory. John Henry symbolized the workers' struggle of humanity over machine.

"Dying ain't important. Everybody does that. What matters is how well you do your living." ~Julius Lester, Author "John Henry"

Sponsored by the Nebraska ARTS COUNCIL


Quilt by Artist-in-Residence, Deborah Bunting, with the student members of the Art Exploratory Club at Dr. Eugene Skinner Magnet Center (1999-2000)

This Quilt was created in the African-American Textile Tradition.

Sponsored by the Nebraska ARTS COUNCIL.


PULSE (People Uniting, Lending Support and Encouragement) *Youth Project*

Lead Artist - Deborah Taylor

Contributing Artists - William Huff, Chazaray Jones, Terrell Marion, Shantell Palomo, Jhanelle Ross, Brandon Stergeon, James Willimas, Tanisha Winfield

Sponsored by the Nebraska ARTS COUNCIL