Mural honoring Casper civil rights activist James Reeb dedicated (PHOTOS)

A crowd gathers during a dedication ceremony for a mural celebrating the life of Rev. James Reeb on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in downtown Casper. Reeb, a graduate of NCHS, died after being beaten by white supremacists after he participated in a civil rights march in 1965. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – A Casper hero is finally getting the recognition he has long deserved in his hometown.

A mural celebrating the life and achievements of the Rev. James Reeb was dedicated on Wednesday evening in downtown Casper.

The rear east-facing wall of a building on 255 South David Street was donated as a canvas by the building’s owner and can be seen from Center Street.

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Reeb’s granddaughter, Leah Reeb Varela, attended the ceremony and spoke of her grandfather’s lasting legacy.

Leah Reeb Varela, daughter of Rev. James Reeb, talks during a dedication ceremony of a mural celebrating his life on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Rev. Reeb was a Natrona County High School graduate who, after serving in the Army, earned his theological degree at Princeton.

He returned to Casper and was ordained at the First Presbyterian Church before eventually moving to Boston.

Reeb was moved by the stories and images of civil rights protesters he saw on TV. He went to Selma and joined protests supporting African American voting rights.

After eating in a non-segregated restaurant, he and two other ministers were beaten by white supremacists. Reeb died days later from injuries to his brain.

Three men accused of the attack were later acquitted and the case remains unsolved.

This year, NPR’s “White Lies” crime podcast featured an investigation on the murder of Reeb, and uncovered the identity of a previously-unknown fourth assailant in the attack. The producers of podcast the were also in Casper to give a presentation at The Table after the dedication on Wednesday.

The mural, painted by Casper artist Tony Elmore, depicts Reeb’s life in Kansas and Casper, as well as Reeb standing arm-in-arm with other historical civil rights activists.

One of the mural’s organizers, the Casper Mural Project, hopes to use more of the walls around the Reeb mural for more local art, and eventually make the area a gathering place and corridor between downtown and the Old Yellowstone District.

Muralist Tony Elmore smiles after speaking during the dedication ceremony for the mural he painted celebrating the Rev. James Reeb’s life. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Libby Tedder Hugus, pastor of The Table, talks during the Reeb mural dedication on Wednesday. The Table was instrumental in organizing the painting of the mural and held a discussion after the dedication. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
People examine the Reeb mural during its dedication on Aug. 28, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Muralist Tony Elmore discusses the Reeb mural on Aug. 28, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Rev. James Reeb’s granddaughter, Leah Reeb Varela, talks during the Reeb mural dedication on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Muralist Tony Elmore climbs up the scaffolding as he works on a mural honoring Casper-born civil rights activist James Reeb on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Tony Elmore adjusts the scaffolding as he works on a mural honoring James Reeb on Aug. 13, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Muralist Tony Elmore references his guide while painting a mural honoring civil rights activist James Reeb on Aug. 13, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Paints used by muralist Tony Elmore are organized at the base of the mural as it’s painted on Aug. 13, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Muralist Tony Emore works on a mural honoring civil rights activist James Reeb on Tuesday, Aug. 13, in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)