Abolitionist mural called ‘racist’

Joanne Jacobs

Vermont Law School will paint over a mural depicting abolitionists helping blacks escape slavery because several students and alumni complained, reports the Valley News.

“The depictions of the African-Americans on the mural are offensive to many in our community and, upon reflection and consultation, we have determined that the mural is not consistent with our School’s commitment to fairness, inclusion, diversity, and social justice,” said Dean Thomas McHenry in the email.

The colorful mural entitled “The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave” depicts Africans being forced into slavery and sold at auction, images of John Brown, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a blond Vermont woman trying to block the view of a bounty hunter looking for fugitives trying to escape slavery on the Underground Railroad.

In an email, Jameson Davis and April Urbanowski  complained that the features of the African Americans were exaggerated and wrote that “white colonizers who are responsible for the horrors of slavery should not also be depicted as saviors in the same light.”

Apparently, the real problem is that the mural shows whites helping blacks.

Vermont was fiercely abolitionist, noted the Christian Science Monitor in a story about the mural in 1993. Royalton, where the private law school is located, was a stop on the Underground Railroad that helped escapees get to Canada.

Artist Sam Kerson “was drawn to his subject by the role of freed slaves and abolitionists in molding a truer democracy in America,” writes reporter Keith Henderson. “In the bravery and radical commitment of both the blacks fleeing bondage and the whites who sheltered them, he saw enduring relevance – something each generation of Americans should reflect on.”

Kerson, now 73, compared painting over the mural to “burning books.”

See the pics here: https://www.joannejacobs.com/2020/07/abolitionist-mural-called-racist/

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