University Saving a Historical But Controversial Mural From a Building Scheduled for Demolition

Mural-CleaningArt restoration sepcialists are removing the Greenwood Mural from the wall of the ballroom at the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  The mural is being preserved while the university center will be demolished to make room for a new, much larger student center.

The mural, mounted on a concrete wall, is oil-on-canvas and measures 29 feet long by six feet high. Originally entitled “The History of Tennessee,” it was painted by Marion Greenwood in 1954. At the time, she was a visiting professor at the university.

The mural has been controversial over the years due to its depictions of African Americans, particularly one that appears to be a slave or sharecropper. The mural was defaced in a 1970 protest. After the mural was repaired, new threats were made against it, prompting the university to cover the mural with wood paneling. The paneling was removed in 2006 and the mural was covered with Plexiglas so that it would be protected against vandalism.

The mural will be stored temporarily at the university’s downtown gallery in Knoxville until a permanent place is found to display it on campus.

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