By: Marcella Hayes Muhammad / Artist

 (Marcella is a visual artist that made a leap of faith in 1995 and took an early retirement from a successful elementary teaching career of 27 years. She and her husband moved from California to the Atlanta area where she is now a full time artist. She has a formal education in the arts, and has been a creative visual artist for over 40 years.)


United We Stand is a painting created to show focused UNITY. It was painted for an exhibition at Alabama State University in Montgomery Alabama using ideas from the 1963 Children’s March for Civil Rights. I wanted to create the feeling of the strength of this united group of children standing against the fire hoses turned on them in the park. The water that comes out of the hose may be moving as fast as 30-80 miles per hour and it does hurt.

How they clung together and managed to remain standing took determination and most of all a focused unity. Those that were caught alone or with only a small few were washed into the buildings and pushed down to the ground by the strong blast of water.

This image stands for the unity that Black people in America are beginning to realize. Once we develop that same desperate focused unity, to save ourselves, take pride in ourselves and our culture and support one another, we will be a force to reckon with. We must believe in ourselves and create our own opportunities.

Have you noticed the political commercials out there right now where they talk bad about a candidate then end by saying, “He’s not one of us”! That is an example of a culture based on exclusion and distrust. It is very apparent in congress and the White House. “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us”.

Our ancestral culture was one of inclusion where we worked together and didn’t leave others out, even when they didn’t agree with the majority. This is the culture that was systematically purged from us as a people in America and we must adopt it again and discourage that culture of exclusion and distrust. It’s time for a united front.

It was our ancestors that built Egypt and all the other great civilizations in Africa even before Egypt came about. It was our ancestors that educated the Europeans in math and many of the sciences and taught them hygiene and how to be civilized. We have that same capacity and skills to do for our own people right here at home. So ask yourself…how many times a week do you look for and support Blacks in business or education? Ask your friends this question and then make it a personal priority and challenge your friends to make the change.

Part of this change is awareness and as a first step, you can buy this United We Stand shirt, available by popular demand, to wear with pride and support Black business. Only $25.00, a bit more for larger sizes. A very special thank you to all of those who saw the original painting and voiced their opinion of having a T-shirt available. Great Idea!