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Murals showing attempted lynching, other scenes to come down

October 9, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Elected officials have voted to remove two courthouse murals in Columbia that show a white man pointing a gun at a Native American man and an attempted lynching.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the Boone County Commission made the decision Thursday after lawyers raised concerns. The murals, painted by Sidney Larson in 1994, will be placed in storage.

The murals depict multiple scenes from Columbia’s history, including when Southern guerrillas terrorized Union loyalists in 1864. Another scene shows a white man being punished for stealing a cow. Three shirtless Black men also are shown chained by their ankles as they carry a plank.

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The majority of those who spoke at a public hearing late last month were in favor of the murals’ removal from the courthouse.

Among them them was attorney Gary Oxenhandler, who said that the art in the courthouse is a wedge.

“Boone County can either be a justice leader or an embarrassing media soundbite,” he said at the hearing. “I have never met a person of color who needed to be reminded their ancestors were lynched by mobs or beaten by police.”