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Symbolism and Substance

Op/Ed By Julianne Malveaux


Julianne_ Malveaux( – The University of Kentucky at Lexington (the flagship college), has shrouded an indoor mural that features paintings of enslaved African Americans bending to pick tobacco (maybe, or cotton) while a train full of white folks seems to appear on their backs.  There are other offensive images in the painting, but in many ways the painting reflects a Kentucky reality.  Yes, there was oppression.  The artist captured a reality that others might not find popular.  University President Eli Capilouto agreed to cover the mural so that the campus has an opportunity to discuss it.

While students object to the mural, Ann Rice O’Hanlon (A Kentucky University Alumni), reflected reality through her lens.  Some might argue that it was a relatively liberal lens, since it captured an enslavement that many would prefer not to talk about.  I’m concerned that African American students are “offended” by our depiction in history.  That which O’Hanlon has depicted is real.

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