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Artist said angel turned him away from crime

Purvis Young was born in the violent streets of Miami's Liberty City. After serving time in prison for breaking and entering, Young claims an angel helped him change his criminal ways. 

He was a genius plagued by poverty, who used paint to channel his anger.

When the road department decided to build an expressway extension in Overtown, thousands lost their homes. To protest the demolition, Young hanged many paintings on a wall about a block long in Goodbread Alley.

He used pieces of plywood and cardboard.

“My feeling was the world might get better if I put up my protests,” said Young. “Even if it didn’t, it was just something I had to be doing. I make like I’m a warrior, like God sending an angel to stop war, like in my art.”

His wall was demolished but his resilient spirit wasn't. He did not need a prestigious education, expensive brushes or a canvas to demonstrate the transforming power of art. RIP Purvis Young. Read the obituary.


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