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Ann Rice O'Hanlon & The Memorial Hall Mural

Early Complaints

Fowler, H. W. (1988). "Ann O'Hanlon's Kentucky Mural." The Kentucky Review, vol. 8 (no.1), pp. 57-68.

     The following quote comes from Fowler's article, notes section, number 17, p. 68:

     "Since the mid-1970s the University Administration has received several complaints alleging racist overtones in the mural, criticisms which are based on O'Hanlon's depiction of blacks in "demeaning, stereotyped" attitudes and roles. These charges seem ironic in view of the fact that the artist's intention throughout the mural was to document the importance of blacks to this nation's development and to point out the unequal social status suffered by black people throughout our national history. For example, the young man hiding in the tree outside the chautauqua tent must hear the debate from this awkward vantage point; the young black children watching the boys fishing are not allowed to fish there themselves; and the young girl buying a ticket to the chautauqua is socially ostracized, since she is an individual of mixed parentage. Like many other New Deal artists, O'Hanlon was extremely aware of the social injustices endured by black people. Some of these artists documented racial injustice in an impassioned, unequivocal way -- others, like O'Hanlon chose a quieter, more subtle method of making their commentaries."

Recent Complaints - Forums & Blogs

Mintcheva, S. (2015 December 3). Victory: A Year On, University of Kentucky Uncovers Controversial Mural Depicting Slaves. National Coalition Against Censorship. Updated 04/21/2017. Retrieved 05/20/2019.

Stevens, A. D. (2015 December 11). University of Kentucky covers up a racially charged Depression-era mural amid community debateHyperallergic. Retrieved 02/04/2016.

Rushton, M. (2015 December 16). About that University of Kentucky MuralFor What It's Worth; an arts journal blog. Retrieved 02/01/2016.