The People’s Artist: In Loving Memory of Eugene Eda Wade, 1939–2021


  • Hannah Jeffery


When we think of the Black community mural movement in the United States, our minds typically think of Bill Walker in Chicago. But throughout the sixties and seventies and even into the eighties, another visionary artist was standing shoulder to shoulder with Walker, creating transformative art that brought joy, inspiration, and love into people’s lives across the nation. Eugene Eda Wade, the self-described “little old dirt-poor boy born in a shack” in Scotlandville, Louisiana, is an unforgettable artist. It became abundantly clear to me after just a few moments in his presence that Eda, as he was known to many, was brimming with monumental creativity and compassion, and he was an artist who had the clear purpose of devoting his life to making art for the people.