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NAACP, Fort Worth officials come up with new, ‘unique’ way to address controversial murals

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NAACP

By ERIN JONES

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    FORT WORTH, Texas (KTVT) — At Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center, two 200-foot hand-painted murals trace the state’s settlement and industrial development.

They’ve been in place since 1936 and at one point were considered the largest set of mosaics in the world, but a few years ago concerns were made about a portion of them depicting Black people picking cotton.

“It was cleared up that it’s not slavery, this is during the era of sharecroppers,” Fort Worth Art Commission Chair Estrus Tucker said. “Because it was a depiction of African-Americans, we particularly invited members from the NAACP, our local chapter, and the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society to give some feedback.”

Estella Williams, the president of NAACP’s Fort Worth/Tarrant County branch, said that collaboratively—they’ve come up with a “unique way” of addressing the situation.

They recommended plaques that provide an explanation of what people are looking at.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words…I would say an interpretation of the picture is worth that much more,” Williams said.

Monday, the Fort Worth Art Commission presented the final design and voted to approve it. Now, the changes will be presented to city council for final approval.

“We’re pleased with it,” Williams said. “We hope the city council will approve what we put together.”

Tucker said the goal is to provide clarity on the historical significance of it and what it means in the 21st century. “That’s what we think it’s doing and we want to go forward with it and invite the world to see it.”

Williams said if passed by city council, they’ll be pushing for an aggressive timeline to install the plaques. The hope is they’ll be in place by this October.

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