Slave mural to stay in courthouse; will be covered by ‘roll-up’ device

By Barnett Wright

Times staff writer

 A Jefferson County committee on Tuesday voted to cover what some say are offensive courthouse murals with a “retractable roll-up mechanism.”

 The full Jefferson County Commission must vote on the recommendation of the 17-member mural committee, which was formed in November after complaints about a slave mural in the courthouse lobby.

 The mural committee issued a statement that said, “the insensitive nature of the murals is offensive to many viewers, but they play a part in the civil rights history of this county.

 “The Committee recommends that the murals remain in their place, but that they be covered with a retractable roll-up mechanism that will allow the murals to be available for all interested viewers.”

 The committee added that “the entire area of the murals should be interpreted to reflect the contemporary history of Jefferson County.”

 County commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Joe Knight steered the committee which was made up of community members and civic leaders who were formed to determine what to do with the murals, which include one of slaves picking cotton in a field and another of black men working in a furnace.