Campus News

Response to Lawsuit Against Removing Controversial Memorial Hall Mural

photo of Memorial Hall spire
UK Memorial Hall spire. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 6, 2020) — Following is a statement in response to University of Kentucky alumnus and well-known writer Wendell Berry’s lawsuit to prevent removing the 1934 mural by Ann Rice O’Hanlon from Memorial Hall on UK’s campus. The fresco has been a longtime source of controversy for its depictions of Black slaves and Native Americans.

“Our respect for Wendell Berry is deep and abiding. His contributions to our state and literature are profound. Moving art, however, is not erasing history. It is, rather, creating context to further dialogue as well as space for healing. As President Capilouto wrote to our campus last month, after years of community conversation, ‘our efforts and solutions with the mural, for many of our students, have been a roadblock to reconciliation, rather than a path toward healing. That’s not a criticism. It is a statement of fact and, I hope, understanding. We need to move forward.’” – Jay Blanton, spokesman, University of Kentucky

Some background about this issue:

President Capilouto’s June communication to the UK campus community: