UK president decides to permanently uncover controversial mural - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UK president decides to permanently uncover controversial mural on campus

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A controversial mural inside an iconic University of Kentucky building will not be covered up or destroyed, UK's president Eli Capilouto announced Monday.

In an email to students, faculty and staff, Capilouto said the mural, which depicts African-Americans as slaves, "serves as an important fulcrum of conversation..."

Last week, Capilouto announced the mural would be covered up after meeting with members of the student community. At the time, the decision was made temporarily while they aimed to find a permanent solution.

The mural hangs in the lobby of Memorial Hall, which opened in 1929 as a tribute to those who died in World War I. The mural was completed and donated the university in 1934 by Ann Rice O'Hanlon. Her artwork depicts Lexington and other parts of central Kentucky in the 19th century, accurately showing some African-Americans as slaves.

Because of those depictions, the mural has been a topic of discussion among students, faculty and staff for many years. The decision to temporarily cover it was made after Capilouto held a meeting with concerned students.

“I appreciate the conversations occurring across our campus and the multitude of constructive suggestions we have received as we chart the path forward,” Capilouto said in Monday's email.

He added that the mural needs to be viewed in the proper context to accurately appreciate it.

"We will place this important work of art, brought to life by one of our own graduates, in the explicit and accurate context of the sober realities of our shared history and our advancing understanding of race, gender, ethnicity and identity.

"I assure you we will work in earnest until everyone in our community can truly know and feel that all of us, together, are what makes the University of Kentucky."

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