Who is the girl in the yellow dress facing a judge depicted on the T.C. Walker mural on Gloucester’s Main Street?
Retired Gloucester County school teacher Roberta Ray was determined to find out, after learning that mural artist Michael Rosato painted it from a real-life description given by Walker in the manuscript, “Lawyer Walker of Gloucester.”
She believes that girl was named Mary Manly.
Walker wrote that he was inspired to study law when, as a young man, he happened to walk into Gloucester courthouse while a trial was underway. What he saw, he said, filled him with “a bitter sense of injustice” after the trial and conviction of “A Negro girl, not more than fourteen years old [who] was being tried for housebreaking and larceny of a few dollars by a white family where she works as cook and housemaid. You know how that is.”
In the manuscript, Walker continued, “The story the white employer told was that one Sunday the family went to church leaving her locked out until the...
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