Dr. Ronald McDowell Unveiling New Masterpiece

Dr. Ronald McDowell Unveiling New Masterpiece is a headline that is history-making in Birmingham.

The new mural, which stands 17 feet tall, presents two illustrations of Lady Justice-one white and one black along with indiscernible images of judges representing diverse ethnicities, gavels and law books. The Jefferson County seal is also embedded in the artwork.

The mural will remain concealed behind a protective covering until Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 11:00am when an unveiling ceremony will take place in the Jefferson County Courthouse lobby.

This project is a response to concerns involving the two couthouse murals that were installed in the 1930’s when the courthouse was built.

Research of the subject documents public outcries concerning the old murals.

At a Website dedicated to Birmingham content, both sides of the debate are presented.  In their 2008 survey of Civil Rights Memorials across the South, geographers Owen Dwyer and Derek Alderman noted that “In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement and the arrival of black elected officials, calls to remove these murals have been made. Outright removal, however, would destroy a ‘material witness’ to white supremacy’s pervasiveness, depriving future generations of a part of their collective past.” They suggested that a preferable means of addressing the “repugnant element” would be to commission a “counter-mural or plaque” similar to the plaque added to New Orleans’ 1891 “Liberty Monument” in 1974, disavowing its overt racism.

In 2015, a citizen who was offended by the artwork, petitioned the Jefferson County Commission asking that those two racially insensitive murals be removed. This was followed by a groundswell of requests from the public supporting removal of the murals. A committee was formed to discuss options and Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Joe Knight served on that committee. The group spent long hours addressing this issue and ultimately decided to add a new mural that would more accurately portray Jefferson County today.

Tuskegee-based artist, Dr. Ronald McDowell was commissioned to create the new mural, which is named “Justice is Blind.”

For more information on the unveiling, contact Karen Wadlington at 205.325.5074 (office), 205.541.4036 (mobile) or wadlingtonk@jccal.org.

For inquiries concerning Dr. Ronald McDowell, contact Karin Hopkins at 205.837.2519 (mobile) or karin@echoboom.media.