Friday, May 27, 2016
IL: Mural of lynching taken out of public view
Once again history must be erased
A mural in Elgin that has been in place for 10 years and was modeled after the photograph of a lynching, has raised questions about its origin.
A controversial mural that depicts a crowd watching a 1930 lynching will move to the Hemmens Cultural Center, Kristine Rogowski, Elgin communications director, said Friday.
Councilwoman Tish Powell said the decision was made Friday afternoon to move the mural to Hemmens sooner rather than later.
A number of factors contributed to the decision to move it, including the threat of vandalism and how some are interpreting and reacting to the piece.
"We want to encourage people to come to the two meetings we have set up to talk about the mural," Powell said.
Elgin may have dropped the ball in not noting the meaning of the city-commissioned work when it was first put on exhibit more than 10 years ago, Powell said.
Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall, who was assistant city manager at the time of the commission, said he could not recall discussion of matters related to the content of the works of art.
The artist behind the Elgin mural that depicts a portion of a famous photo of a lynching of two black men in Indiana said the piece was intended to get people to ask questions, think about issues and consider their own place in history.
"The idea here was talking about lynching, asking questions, the history," artist David Powers said. "You don't want to be on that wall with these monsters. Anywhere. In any town."