Artist Says Mural of 1930 Lynch-Mob Scene Showing White People Pointing, Laughing at Black Bodies Hanging is ‘Misinterpreted’  

A community mural in Elgin, Illinois has sparked outrage and protests because it was discovered that the image is based on a lynch-mob photo from a 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana.

According to the Courier News, the image and its similarities to the photo was spotted by Elgin resident Richard Farr, 25, and St. Charles, Illinois resident Alex Cokinos, 33. They realized that the mural and the photo were the same Tuesday night as they walked past the installation in the city park.

Farr took the photo and shared it on his Facebook page juxtaposed with the 1930s image, and his post has gone viral since the Tuesday night posting.


1930 Indiana lynching

The photo became infamous after being posted on the cover of Black survivor James Cameron’s memoir. In the image, two Black men are hanged as a crowd of leering white people point and laugh.

The mural’s artist created the work a decade ago and wanted people to understand the racist history of America. He tells the Courier News:

“After 10 years, somebody decided to take notice, and misinterpreted that imagery,” artist David Powers said. “The idea here was talking about lynching, asking questions, the history. You don’t want to be on that wall with these monsters.”

The white artist agrees with the protesters and concerned residents. Powers is vehemently against racism, calling it “abhorrent and awful.”

CBS Chicago asked residents about the mural in a Thursday night report. Many residents said it was in poor taste and that the mural brought back hurtful memories of extreme racial violence against Black people.

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