University president: Controversial mural will be removed

June 5, 2020 GMT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto says a controversial mural at the school that has been the object of protest for its depictions of black people and Native Americans is coming down.

Capilouto’s message Friday to students, faculty and staff said the mural makes it difficult to address important matters.

“Our efforts and solutions with the mural, for many of our students, have been a roadblock to reconciliation, rather than a path toward healing,” Capilouto wrote. “That’s not a criticism. It is a statement of fact and, I hope, understanding.”


The mural, which has remained covered since a protest and hunger strike last year, “carries with it tremendous symbolic weight,” Capilouto said.

“I want to remove that weight from the discussions we must have, so that we can act, together, as a community,” he wrote.

The 1930s fresco mural by Ann Rice O’Hanlon shows the history of Lexington in a series of scenes, including black men and women planting tobacco and a Native American man holding a tomahawk. Efforts to remove the mural have been made since at least 2006.

Capilouto said he would keep the campus updated as it’s decided how to remove the mural.