In the late 1950s, urban renewal ripped through Pittsburgh’s vibrant (and predominantly African American) Hill District neighborhood. In 1960, at the intersection of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street, just over a mile from Carlow's campus, residents posted a simple sign: Attention City Hall and U.R.A: No Development beyond This Point! We Demand Low Income Housing for the Lower Hill!
The intersection was deemed Freedom Corner and would become a launching point for demonstrations seeking social justice.
In 1968, after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sisters of Mercy from Carlow (then Mt. Mercy College) met there: “Sister Ferdinand would put up a sign that read, ‘The Sisters Will March at 4 p.m. Be at [Freedom Corner],’” recalls Sister Jean Murin. (Listen to Sister Jean on SoundCloud.)
Designed by local artist Carlos Peterson and architect Howard Graves, the Freedom Corner monument was dedicated on April 22, 2001. The site continues to serve as an important gathering spot for individuals who advocate for peace, justice, and equality.
A Pages of History wall. Symbolizes hope, faith, and the future of the movement of human rights.
B Quote: “But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful places we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
C The Stone of Origin. Polished granite from Zimbabwe. Represents the origin and power of African American heritage.
D The Circle of Honor. Names of 25 civil rights heroes who lost their lives fighting for peace.
E Out of the image: The Freedom Marchers' Ring. Stones symbolizing nonviolent protest and unity engraved with names of 70 local civil rights activists, many of whom have ties to Carlow or Mount Mercy. Names like Cecile Springer, former Carlow trustee and Woman of Spirit®, and Thelma Lovette, friend of the university, Woman of Spirit®, and mother of Thelma Lovette Morris, who graduated from Carlow in 1970.