Trio of Murals and City Line

Trio of Murals

Bo Bartlett was commissioned to paint these three murals in 2002 for The Offices at Terrell Place in Washington, D.C., named for Mary Church Terrell (September 23, 1863 – July 24, 1954). One of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. Ms. Terrell was known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage. The murals were recently gifted to the Center to become part of its Permanent Collection.

E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One), 2003
Oil on linen
89 ¼ x 155 ½ inches

Annuit Coeptis (Providence Favors our Undertakings), 2003
Oil on linen
73 ¼ x 147 ¼ inches

Novus Ordo Seclorum (A New Order for the Age), 2003

Oil on linen
89 ¼ x 179 ¼ inches


City Line

My friend Erin Forbes was a security guard getting off of his night shift when he was chased down and shot by the police on City Line Avenue between Lower Merion Township and Philadelphia in March of 2000. CityLine was the racial divide between predominantly Black West Philly and predominantly White Lower Merion. The police claimed that Erin had stolen four dollars from a convenience store.. in reality he apparently had a disagreement with the store clerk (an old acquaintance whom he’d argued with before) over the amount of change he was owed after a purchase. According to videotape from the store a scuffle broke out and Erin took the amount of change he was owed. Policed chased Erin to City Line Ave. His parents, both history professors in African studies, had taught Erin that driving while black was dangerous.. and to try to stop in well lit areas with other people around. It was early morning.. workers at stores on City Line were just arriving to work. Erin stopped and the police ordered him out of his car.. with up to eight police cars from Lower Merion and Philadelphia soon surrounding his car.. he got out and was shot on the spot. The police went to his home to “look for a gun” in his room.. Erin had no gun. He was a peaceful person.. educated and compassionate. A group of us.. friends.. tried to approach the police to see the police video cameras of the shooting. They reported that all of the cameras in all of the cars had been out for servicing on the morning of the shooting. We organized protests.. stopped traffic.. petitioned congressmen to no avail. Justice was never served. Regardless of any claims made by the police.. Erin didn’t deserve to die. This event changed my perception of how these things unfold. I never finished the painting..” Bo Bartlett


City Line (Erin Forbes), 2000
Oil on linen
83.75″ x 60″