Lawsuit to prevent removal of controversial Kentucky mural dismissed by judge


A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by award-winning author Wendell Berry and his wife to stop the event. University of Kentucky Murals that sparked protests over their depictions of black people and Native Americans were removed. But the ruling also protected the artwork.

The lawsuit was filed after university President Eli Capilouto announced in 2020 that the mural would be removed.

Created in the 1930s by Ann Rice O’Hanlon, the mural illustrates Lexington’s history through a series of scenes, including black men and women growing tobacco and Native American men holding tomahawks.Efforts have been made to eliminate mural Since at least 2006.

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The order filed Monday said the Berrys had no legal standing to sue, but it also noted the artwork’s historical significance and said its removal would be an “insult” to Kentucky residents.

“The O’Hanlon Mural does not glorify the abhorrent practice of slavery or the taking of Native American territory. Rather, it provides a succinct account of what Ms. O’Hanlon was commissioned to create – a history of Kentucky from 1792 to the 1920s ,” the ruling states.

A photo of a building at the University of Kentucky, a public university in Lexington, Kentucky, United States. (iStock)

Because the mural is painted directly on plaster, removing it would result in its destruction, so the ruling ordered the university to maintain the mural’s status quo pending any appeal in the case.

“We have stated that the university’s intent is to retain and move the mural. That remains our position. We are pleased the judge dismissed the case,” spokesman Jay Blanton told the outlet. lexington herald leader.

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Tanya Berry told the newspaper she had not yet read the decision but that keeping the mural was “what we want.” She was O’Hanlon’s niece and her oldest living heir, the lawsuit said.

“We’re glad the mural is staying in place because taking it down would ruin it,” she said.

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Wendell Berry is best known for his poetry, fiction, and essays about sustainable agriculture and other topics. In 2011, then-President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal.



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By Ali Raza

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