BNHA Romare Bearden Memorial

Interpretive Framework

Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Star Attractions

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1702 Pennsylvania Ave

Baltimore, Maryland 21217

The celebrated African American artist Romare Bearden’s most famous mosaic, “Baltimore Uproar,” adorns the interior of the Upton Metro Station. The mosaic features a jazz group composed of Baltimore native Billie Holiday and six instrumentalists, setting the tone for Baltimore’s once-famous musical venues. At over 46 feet long and 14 feet high, the Venetian glass mosaic was unveiled on December 15, 1982.

In 1935, Bearden became a weekly editorial cartoonist for The Afro-American Newspapers where he graphically captured the African American experience until 1937. Bearden’s life and art covered a spectrum of interests, including music, performing arts, history, literature, and art. He also was a renowned humanist, supporting young, emerging artists. Within his extensive education portfolio, he attended the Art Students League in New York and the Sorbonne in Paris.

From the mid-1930s through 1960s, Bearden was a social worker with the New York City Department of Social Services, working on his art at night and on weekends. He counted among his many friends, James Baldwin, Stuart Davis, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Joan Miró, George Grosz, Alvin Ailey and Jacob Lawrence.

Among Bearden’s numerous publications are: A History of African American Artists: From 1792 to the Present, coauthored with Harry Henderson and published posthumously in 1993; and Six Black Masters of American Art, coauthored with Harry Henderson (1972). Bearden’s artwork is included in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Studio Museum in Harlem.