2001-Today: Social Activism

McCray now works as a social activist. His most rewarding work involves speaking with Philadelphia’s youth about his own life story. He uses his status as a Philadelphia legend to teach children and teenagers about the danger of drugs, vandalism, and a life spent in and out of incarceration. He not only has an important relationship with the internationally acclaimed Mural Arts Program and its executive director, Jane Golden, but he also created his own organization, Graff-X.

The Mural Arts Program

Taggers had long shown that there was potential for creative expression amidst the turmoil of inner-city Philadelphia. The work of Jane Golden and the Mural Arts Program transferred the raw talent of the graffiti writers into organized community projects that brought beauty to the city streets. Golden and Cornbread have a friendship that blossomed into a partnership. In the spring of 2013, taggers, who had traditionally respected the murals, began tagging on the mural walls. Golden came to McCray, asking for his help, and together they organized a summit to facilitate a conversation between current graffiti writers and the Mural Arts Program. McCray continues to act as an important link between the graffiti world and the established art community.


In recent years Darryl has involved himself with a non-profit organization of ex-graffiti writers who are committed to do constructive work for the good of the community, as a way to make up for the destruction they inflicted on Philadelphia. It involves everything from a charitable shoe drive for the needy, hats, gloves and scarves for elementary school students and providing uniforms for a little league basketball team. He originally spearheaded The Graffiti Summit by way of The Mural Arts Program.  

Smithsonian Induction

Darryl lived double lives in different worlds, one life in the street and the other in an imaginary world, amongst the stars, filled with undisrupted dreams, which do not come with expiration dates. Cornbread’s legacy will never expire. He wrote his name into America’s History. In 2016, Darryl “Cornbread” McCray, will be inducted into the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum.

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