Historic WPA mural featuring only white children removed from Chicago-area school

Thank God for David Sokol:

“There is nothing offensive with the mural; it just shows all white kids playing,” said Sokol, an author and Oak Park resident. “Just because it doesn’t have any black kids, doesn’t make it offensive. It doesn’t display any stereotypes at all. That’s how Oak Park looked back then. You can’t erase history.”

The offending mural:

More to demonstrate presence of sanity in the village:

Barbara Bernstein, a founder of the New Deal Art Registry, said the removal of the mural is a missed opportunity for students to learn about the history around them.

“I think it does a real disservice to remove a piece of historical work,” said Bernstein. “Not everything in your environment is going to be a perfect reflection of you.”

The move makes you wonder what the authorities think school is for anyhow.

Sokol, instead, would’ve rather the school kept the mural on display and used it as a learning experience for the students or counterbalance it by making another mural showing the modern Oak Park.

The school, once named after Nathaniel Hawthorne, was renamed years ago, and there’s a mosaic about that.

The front of the school features a mosaic tribute to the school’s namesake, Percy Julian, an African American scientist and inventor who lived in Oak Park. There is also a large painting in the school showing a black child and white child growing up; at one point they are shown holding hands.

Good heavens, what are they thinking of among school decision-makers?


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