NAACP to address Jefferson Co. Courthouse mural

NAACP to address Jefferson Co. Courthouse mural
This is the "New South" companion mural to the "Old South" one that the NAACP wants removed. Source: WBRC video
This is the "New South" companion mural to the "Old South" one that the NAACP wants removed. Source: WBRC video
A close up of the bottom of the "Old South" mural. Source: WBRC video
A close up of the bottom of the "Old South" mural. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The NAACP plans to hold two meetings this week about removing a mural at the Jefferson County Courthouse some call racist.

The 17.5' by 8' mural greets visitors to the Jefferson County Courthouse every day. It depicts antebellum times with white overseers on horseback and black slaves picking cotton.

The NAACP will hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Jefferson County Courthouse. The group will make a formal presentation Thursday afternoon to county commissioners.

Chicago artist John W. Norton was commissioned to paint the Old South mural and its companion, New South, when the courthouse was built in the 1930s, according to the BhamWiki.

They are both displayed in the west entrance lobby of the courthouse, familiar to those entering the building to renew vehicle tags.

"It is very distasteful, it just speaks racism. Back in 1934 it was put up there and it talks about picking cotton and this big picture of this white woman with blacks at her feet picking cotton, we're way past that," Jefferson County commissioner Sandra Little Brown said.

A nationwide petition drive is also underway to remove the mural. Anne Garland Mahler, a Birmingham native who teaches now at the University of Arizona is behind the petition which can be found on change.org. Mahler has suggested it would be better off at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Officials estimate it would cost $100,000 to take the mural down and replace it.

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