MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been 61 years since a group of students broke the color barrier in Memphis.

It was on this day back in 1961, 13 black first graders showed up for their first day of class at Bruce, Gordon, Rozelle, and Springdale elementary schools, integrating classrooms that were previously all-white.

Known as the Memphis 13, the students are credited with advancing the civil rights for black Americans.

Monday, the remaining 13 members learned that a mural would be painted in their honor at Springdale Elementary School.

Jamond Bullock, the artist commissioned to paint the mural, said the members of the Memphis 13 inspired the design.

“These 13 first graders that embodied courage and had to have such thick skin at a time where they were entering a school that may not have wanted them,” Bullock said.

Jacqueline Christion and Alvin Freeman, two members of the Memphis 13, expressed how much the mural means to them.

“I found out that they were going to do murals for us and really just started crying, but I am so excited — happy,” Christion said.

“It’s indescribable. It is really a good feeling. It has been so long coming,” Freeman said.

There was also a screening for The Memphis 13 documentary directed by Daniel Kiel at Monday’s event.

“It’s a story that isn’t stuck in 19-61. it’s a story that continues to unfold in our community, in our schools in many different ways,” Kiel said.

Members of the Memphis 13 who were in attendance said it reminded them of what that first day of school was like.

“I walked in the school looking around — how clean, comfortable it was looking compared to Hyde Park got into the classrooms, new books. just new everything,” Christion said.

But they said the reality set in as the school year moved along.

“I couldn’t imagine that. I couldn’t imagine having to be so brave and so young,” Bullock said.

The state legislature also honored them with a resolution just last year.