CONCORD, NC – There is a new push to remove a massive mural at the Cabarrus County Library, that many say contains offensive imagery.
The North Carolina NAACP is now involved calling for the mural’s removal despite county steps to limit the public’s access.
“What it does is it degrades the African American portrait of whatever that artist was trying to say,” said Amos McClorey, the local representative of the NAACP.
He says he’s asked the county to remove the 50 foot mural in the Cabarrus County Library auditorium, saying it shows dehumanizing images of slavery and a prominent confederate flag.
“It shows that the African American never made any progress,” said McClorey.
The work was commissioned in 1939 for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project.
Of the roughly 70 people in the piece, four are African American. They include three depicted as slaves and a fourth in the stereotypical “mammy” characterization. The mural spans several decades of Cabarrus county history.
McClorey says in that time African Americans built schools, started businesses, and grew communities.
“People may have been slaves in this county in the 1700’s but they progressed and became educators,” said McClorey.
Since 2014, the work has been covered by an electronic screen. It’s only revealed by appointment and with a librarian present to provide context and answer questions.
“We don’t think that is an image that should be displayed publicly,” said Rev. Dr. T Anthony Spearman.
The North Carolina NAACP is now getting involved. Putting pressure on local leaders to not just cover up the mural, but take it down.
“So we really detest it and would hope that they would remove this object from a public facility,” said Spearman.
The mural was originally installed in the Concord Museum. It was moved to the library after it was built in 1977. The county took over the building in 1998.