The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner:
Murals in Detroit & The Indelible Legacy of Jimmie Raye

Mar 6, 2023

Murals in Detroit

Large colorful and powerful murals have been used to give voice to the pain, anger and/or beauty of working class life. In 2022, USA Today readers and experts named Detroit number four in the country in the creation of beautiful murals. The Detroit area has over 225 murals all over the city. The Eastern Market area has had numerous festivals hosted by Murals in the Market, which has resulted in artist presentations, dialogue, and over 100 murals in that area alone. There are walking tours or e-bike tours of the art. Southwest Detroit, the Dequindre Cut, the North End, Highland Park, and more, all have incredible murals. The city of Detroit has published a map of all murals, and launched an effort to make Detroit #1 in the country, and is encouraging everyone to participate in finding and reporting indoor and outdoor murals at

A blogger has highlighted 20 of her favorite murals with comments, including the one of Malice Green in Highland Park, and is worth seeing at

Another bi-annual week-long festival was the 2021 BLKOUT Walls Fest in the North End. There are over 20 murals featured and the murals are stunning!

Film: The Indelible Legacy of Jimmie Raye, NFL 360, 2022, streaming on

Jimmy Raye was a black high school football star in segregated North Carolina. He went to college at Michigan State because, at that time, MSU was the only major university, other than the historically black colleges, that was willing to have large numbers of black players on its football team. MSU also gave Raye the chance to play quarterback when other schools didn’t.

Raye was drafted into the National Football League (NFL), but he was never given the chance to play quarterback. Raye later began coaching, first at MSU, and then in the NFL. He was one of the first black assistant coaches and first black coordinators in the NFL. But despite Raye’s success for 36 years as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator, he was never hired as a head coach. Today there are only three black head coaches in the NFL.

Through the life of Jimmy Raye, this video looks at the integration of college football in the 1960s and the racism that exists to this day in the NFL.