ST. LOUIS – If you’ve ever taken a stroll down Page to Skinker to Newstead, you might have noticed the 8-foot-long and 4-foot-wide portraits placed carefully in the windows and doors of abandoned brick homes. It is called “Beyond the Walls.”

Seventeen years ago, in the City of St. Louis, a non-profit organization and a skilled artist brought this vision to life. It vividly uncovers Black history for people who pass down Page Boulevard every day. There are close to 100 paintings. The artist behind the paintings is Chris Green. He put hours and hours into creating portraits of the past in order to fuel the future. The non-profit organization Better Family Life was a part of the vision. Dr. Donald Suggs, Ida Woolfolk, Betty Thompson, Charlie Dooley, Freeman Bosley Jr., Freeman Bosley Senior, Isaac Smith, are all featured on the paintings. Even FOX 2’s very own Shirley Washington and Kelley Hoskins, who have spent a collective four decades telling your stories right here in St. Louis are featured. Chris Green has been an artist for more than 40 years. He started this project in 2005.

There is a juxtaposition between the paintings and the abandoned homes. The sole purpose was to create hope and instill pride in the youth to show them despite the plight surrounding them, they can make an impact and leave a mark.

Blair’s Black History Moment highlights the history, success, and contributions of African Americans, both past and present, across the St. Louis region. If you would like to highlight a part of Black History dear to the St. Louis area, please send an email to blair.ledet@tvstl.com as we recognize people, places, and events crucial to building the St. Louis community.