Breaking Brown

November 5, 2015

Alabama Mural Depicting African-Americans Picking Cotton on Plantation Remains in Courthouse

Alabama Mural Depicting African-Americans Picking Cotton on Plantation Remains in Courthouse

In Alabama a committee is set to decide what to do about a courthouse mural depicting African-Americans picking cotton.

The mural shows African-Americans picking cotton as whites ride by in stately fashion atop horses. Another mural shows a segregation scene, sans the cotton.

A committee will meet on November 18 to decide what to do about the murals:

From WBRC:

Commissioner Brown complained about the murals and she led the effort to create a diverse 17-member committee to recommend to the commission what to do with the murals. 

“I don’t like destroying history and history is history but that history down there now is incomplete. It’s like 50 years old or more. So it’s time for the real history and up-to-date history to be put in place in the lobby,” Brown said.


Brown said taking the murals down may damage the murals. The commissioner points out there are two blank spots in the lobby where new, updated murals could tell the diverse story of Jefferson County. 


The commissioner says some African Americans have told her the murals are a part of history while some white voters have told her the murals should come down.


The committee will be meeting in two weeks. They will have up to 120 days to decide what to do with murals. Their decision could come even sooner.

Once again, welcome to post-racial America.

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14 thoughts on “Alabama Mural Depicting African-Americans Picking Cotton on Plantation Remains in Courthouse

  1. Bubiwoman says:

    Let the painting hang there as a reminder that we picked cotton and and worked ourselves to death in building the foundation on which American wealth was built. We did it all for free. This picture is our reminder that we would like to have our check for services rendered, lives lost and generations damaged.

  2. Rick Manigault says:

    A pictures worth a thousand words.

  3. TinaSue says:

    I don’t know what to think of that. On the one hand, the Mural is a historical reminder, just like those Mammy dolls they use to make. Some Black people collect them as a reminder of our past.   On the other hand, it is viewed as an offensive caricature.

  4. Sea Pea says:

    Well put a banner under it saying no justice until reparations are paid. Otherwise this painting is only saying “remember who’s in charge”.

  5. Sea Pea says:

    The painting belongs in a museum not in a place that is supposed to administer justice.

  6. Bubiwoman says:

    Sea Pea From that perspective, you are right.

  7. turkey1 says:

    In the 1960’s cotton were still being picked by hand, I grew up picking cotton on my father’s farm it wasn’t pictured as that derogatory, this picture looks more like owner’s riding by slaves and forced labor. I’d say leave the mural as a historic picture of our past history, a lot of black children and white’s have not seen our past. It may turn into a topic of conversation of why slavery ever existed, and serve as sort of a holocaust of reminders of our treatment as black America’s history of our struggles of slavery with no pay.

  8. soul60 says:

    Bubiwoman ? Ever notice if you mention the idea of real freedom and liberation to a good % of us.
    They seem to get  all scared and say ” I don’t want to talk about that black talk ”
    ” massa might get me “

  9. Bubiwoman says:

    soul60 Bubiwoman I get that. It’s all in how we have been socialized. Thank goodness, we are changing.

  10. soul60 says:

    Bubiwoman  soul60 – I agree but in some locations the fear or this deep seated plantation mentally is still there.
    Hard for  many to deal with and just let go.
    There should be a t-shirt that says ” Say no to a Plantation Mentally “.
    Then a picture on the shirt could show a brain with a chain wrapped around it

  11. Bubiwoman says:

    soul60 Bubiwoman   The more that I understand and process –at the level of the
    heart- our historical black experience, the less painful it becomes. The horrifying
    recognition of lifelong, personal generational damage is an empowering process;
    it severs the emotional dependence on the reactionary. The battles we choose
    must be strategic because all else is a waste of energy and it keeps us tied to
    rage and thoughtlessness rather than critical thinking which might lead us empowerment
    and growth.  Peace, sister.

  12. Tank50 says:

    Historical Black reminder my butt. Every time we turn around there is a reminder of slavery and our past. I think our kids have enough of those reminders. It is really a reminder that with all of the injustices we have suffered in this country that when you walk into the court your still going to be treated like a slave. Just like Treyvon Martin, Mike Brown and the many others attacked by this country and received no justice.  It has to come down!

  13. turkey1 says:

    Taking it down won’t reform the Justice System, if a person is going to be found guilty it doesn’t have anything to do with slaves picking cotton, I have picked cotton myself it didn’t make me feel like a slave. Taking confederate flags down, removing confederate soldiers statute,  its easy on the eyes but that’s all it does, the ideology of systematic racism lives in the heart and soul of men, until they decide to change from racism, it will always raise its ugly head. Since the confederate flag were taken down from Columbia, SC., I have seen privately hundreds of flags go back up on private property and vehicles, in defiance of the Government, my point is that the mural should remain up to never be forgotten what atrocities we suffered for this country and that reparations should have been made for forced labor, some may agree with you, but the Jews have history connected to the holocaust, so in the future the same fate will not happen again. But history needs to remind future generations that we suffered un-righteously for this nation. I feel that reforming the Justice System would be better.

  14. queenofmeanest says:

    This surprises everyone? Why?

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