Lincoln Artist Selected to Create Bust of Malcolm X for Nebraska Hall of Fame

LINCOLN–(KFOR/News Release Oct. 10)–A Lincoln artist has been selected to design and create the bust of Malcolm Little, also known as Malcolm X, who will be inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 2024.

Nathan Murray teaches art classes at the Lux Center for the Arts and Nebraska Wesleyan University. He was chosen through a selection process from the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission and Nebraska Arts Council.

“We were very impressed with his enthusiasm for this project and look forward to the unveiling of the bust in the Nebraska Capitol in 2024,” said Dr. Sara Crook, who is chair of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission.

Murray earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009 and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Florida in 2015. Murray has exhibited his work nationally and has been widely published in magazines, books, and online. Notably, his work from the exhibition “Color Theory” was featured on the cover of the March 2017 issue of Ceramics Monthly Magazine. Additionally, his work was featured in the 2023 book “Contemporary Black Ceramic Artists” by Chotsani Elaine Dean and Donald A. Clark.

The proposed sculpture bust of Malcolm X. (Photo Courtesy of Nathan Murray)

Murray has received numerous awards and grants, including a residency at the Lux Center for the Arts in 2015 and a grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance in 2019. In 2022, he received the Mayor Art Award for Artistic Achievement. In 2023, Murray attended a residency at the Union for Contemporary Art. Murray’s work explores issues of race, ethnicity, and intersectionality, particularly how these aspects of identity are expressed in people and their stories. Murray’s artistic practice centers around creating life-like clay sculptures that examine nuanced representations of people and contemporary issues.

“Malcolm X’s advocacy for human rights and his message of empowerment made him a pivotal figure not only for Nebraska but also on the world stage, inspiring generations to strive for equality and justice,” said Murray. “I am honored to have been selected to create a bronze for the Nebraska Hall of Fame.”

To be eligible for the Nebraska Hall of Fame, the person must have been born in Nebraska, gained prominence while living in Nebraska, or whose residence in Nebraska influenced their lives and contributed to their greatness. In addition, the inductee can only be considered 35 years after death.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little at University Hospital in Omaha on May 19, 1925. He was the son of Earl and Louise Little, 3448 Pinkney Street. Reverend Little helped organize the Universal Negro Improvement Association. After threats by night riders, the family moved to Milwaukee and later to Michigan, where Reverend Little allegedly was murdered. During his mother’s illness, Malcolm was sent to Boston, then to New York, where he committed burglary. While serving a six-and-one-half-year sentence, he became self-educated and converted to an American sect of Islam.

After leaving prison, Malcolm took the name Malcolm X, studied under Elijah Muhammad. He became outspoken about the mistreatment of Blacks. Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City on February 21, 1965.