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The truth about the Woodburn mural

Bloomington Herald-Times, July 23, 2009

To the Editor:

In a lecture hall in Woodburn Hall, there is a mural near the front of the room. On this mural, you see a large image of white nurse caring for a black baby. Farther down, you will see a journalist. This is historically significant because it was journalists who exposed the corruption that led to the downfall of the Ku Klux Klan, which once ruled Indiana politics. The artist who painted the mural, Thomas Hart Benton, is known as an opponent of the KKK.

But this is not quite the image you have been told about, is it? A letter to the editor a few months ago complains "the artist could have put KKK members in handcuffs, but instead, chose them marching in full regalia." This incredibly dishonest misrepresentation of the mural is reprehensible. We must never sweep history under the rug. Remembering evils of history reminds us not to repeat past evils.

There is plenty of information available at http://www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/benton/. Those who are unable to sit in a lecture hall with the mural and unwilling to educate themselves about it should consider if they are mature enough to pursue a college education and drop out until they grow up.

Scott Tibbs.

Note: For more about the Woodburn mural, see previous articles: