Christina Colman of NewsOne is reporting that the Jefferson County, Alabama chapter of the NAACP is calling for the removal a two murals that they deem to be racist and offensive.
The two large murals found in the building’s lobby depict slaves picking cotton while a White overseer watches from the county courthouse with a backdrop of white people in more “prominent positions”. Created by Chicago artist John Warner Norton, the murals are said to represent the old and new south; drawing comparisons between its agricultural base to its industrialization.
Opponents of the Mural argue that it’s location in the courthouse is especially problematic because the courthouse is supposed to be a place of justice and fairness, yet the murals depict the opposite of these principles.
Jefferson County Historical Commissioner Linda Nelson opposes the proposed removal of the murals, saying:
“Everybody recognizes the historical discomfort that they represent, but where do you stop with this sort of thing? It’s just not a good thing to do to those murals and it’s just not a good precedent.”
In an effort to preserve the murals, Nelson went on to suggest commissioning an artist to add a third piece chronicling the regions progress following the civil rights movement and adding informational placards to explain the murals context.
However, Hezekekiah Jackson, President of the Metro Birmingham NAACP, expressed that the murals, like the confederate flag, represent dark historical periods and do not belong in the county courthouse building. Jackson says,
“It symbolizes a time when bigotry was the order of the day and a lot of good people said nothing and did nothing even though they felt something…We want to be known as a county that has moved beyond that point.”
While stilll pushing for the removal of the murals from the courthouse, some opponents have proposed that the Murals be donated to a Confederate Museum so that their historical significance can be preserved.
The removal of the murals has garnered the support of three of the five commissioners, and the NAACP plans to continue pressing the issue until the murals are removed.
Read more at NewsOne.
This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for the Burton Wire. He is a senior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.