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Amistad Murals inside new art museum at Talladega College

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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TALLADEGA, Ala. (WBRC) - Pieces of history inside a new art museum at Talladega College is now open to the public.

The Dr. William Harvey Museum of Art welcoming guests to view the The Amistad Murals, worth about $50 million, depict the Underground Railroad and even the opening day at Talladega College.

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins says when he arrived in 2008, the paintings were in the Savery Library. They were overlooked and in need of restoration.

“To be able to preserve this crown jewel,” says Dr. Hawkins. “It’s apart of what I do. I’m just proud that we’re able to discover the condition of the murals and to save this asset. Glad that I was here. I was in the right place at the right time. To discover these beautiful murals and discover the fact that they needed care. We raised the money and got these murals restored.”

Talladega College professor Hale Woodruff painted these murals in the late 1930s telling the story of the revolt of African captives and the founding of the college. Dr. Hawkins says displaying the pieces is full circle.

“This is a special place. This college is a special place. When you look at 1867 going all the way almost one hundred fifty three years of existence on this soil,” says Dr. Hawkins. “A college that was built by two slaves, These murals very much apart of the legacy of this institution.”

Hawkins hopes the opening of the museum brings people to Talladega to see the international artwork.

“It’s a great asset for the community to come and enjoy. It’s also a tourist attraction,” says Dr. Hawkins. “We know that individuals from all over the world will come to Talladega to see this great art collection. Because it’s one of a kind. Yes and it is housed here in Talladega, Alabama.

This month the museum is opened Monday-Saturday. For additional information, visit https://museum.talladega.edu/.

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