The late Chester I. Lewis, a Hutchinson native who went on to become a civil rights attorney fighting segregation, is the namesake for Hutchinson’s new plaza.

Lewis was born in 1929 in Hutchinson, and Lewis was a “freedom fighter” early in life.

Lewis went to the University of Kansas and would earn a law degree. He settled in Wichita and worked for integration. According to the Kansas Historical Society, Lewis “helped desegregate restaurants, swimming pools, aircraft companies” and “local government agencies.” He lobbied for a fair housing ordinance and mentored black students. He died in 1990.

When Chester Lewis grew up in Hutchinson, the school district was the only one of the state’s 12 largest that didn’t segregate students by race. 

Woodson explained that the people in her mural convey unity — faces don’t have defining characteristics, but focus on mouths and speech pouring from them. Figures are also unified in the direction they all walk together, while conveying diversity in the color of their skin.

Lewis is depicted in the left-most mural, Brendan Martinez’s “Justice of All Trades Lewis,” alongside elements of the Hutchinson municipal flag.

The center mural was created by Rebekah Lewis and Josh Tripoli, of Lupoli Collective in Wichita. It showcases key images that are unique to the Hutchinson area in a postcard-style design.

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