Art mural to honor Vernon legend

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VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — A man well-known to Vernon area residents for decades, beginning in the 1920s, is being remembered in a big way.

More than a familiar face in Vernon, he was an ever-present fixture in the community for more than four decades and he sold those famous tamales every day with a smile on his face.

When the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture contacted Michael and George Dean, Harvey’s sons, about the mural, they were at a loss for words.

“I was flabbergasted, I was like well wonderful. And excited and exhilarating and just you know really moved by the thought of the recognition for my father,” said Michael Dean, the youngest son of Harvey Dean.

The recognition of Harvey Dean and his iconic hot tamale cart.

Mr. Dean sold many thousands of tamales from his hand-built cart from the roaring 20s until his retirement in 1972, five years before his passing at the age of 81.

While he is a local legend, his family remembers him for different reasons.

George and Michael refer to their father as a gentle giant who was loved by many in the community. And they say he would be ecstatic to be recognized with his own mural.

“He would be pleased, he was proud and he liked his work. He loved his work,” said George Dean the oldest son of Harvey Dean.

Ferdine LeBlanc served as the lead artist on the project and says this opportunity sets a milestone in not only his career but in the community.

“I think it’s a very good thing to kind of show the diversity and to kind of represent the people more so that they feel like they have a part in the community,” said Ferdince Leblanc, lead artist of the mural.

“Harvey Dean’s story is a very reflective story of the struggle that African Americans went through to make it and kind of just making it in a place where a lot of the odds were against him. Coming across the railroad, building his own cart and everything and he really integrated well into the city and into the community,”.said Ferdince Leblanc.

Harvey Dean’s legacy in Vernon is truly lasting. One that will continue to serve as inspiration to us all.

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