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Mercer University won't comment on why black history mural was removed

In a statement, the university says the mural was never meant to be there permanently

MACON, Ga. — If you have ever taken a walk around Mercer Village, chances are you've seen a huge mural honoring African-American heroes through history. Tuesday, the mural was painted over, which left some people with questions. Wanya Reese learned why the mural was removed. 

Christele Parham says she was shocked to find out the Mercer Village mural was painted over on Tuesday. Just two years ago, she snapped a picture in front of it.

Credit: Christele Parham

"People and my other friend told me who it was by, and I started to do some research about it," Parham said. 

A signature shows Joerael Elliott painted this vibrant mural in 2017. It honored people like Sam Oni, the first black student to attend Mercer. The mural even featured a silhouette of a football player kneeling. 

So why was it taken down? In a statement from the University:

Mercer Village mural was commissioned and funded by the College Hill Corridor Commission several years ago as a "pop-up" public art demonstration project. It was never intended to be permanent.

Mercer University wouldn't comment on why the mural was taken down or what led up to their decision to do it now.

"It would have been dope before the decision was made to talk about it," Parham said. 

Parham is sad to see the mural covered up and hopes the university finds another way to honor African-Americans.  

"It would be helpful to see something similar, or the same one would be nice," Parham said. 

We also reached out to the Knight Foundation, who funded the mural, to get more background on the project:

Knight Foundation is proud to support community-driven projects in Macon, and will continue to do so in the future. The many distinctive arts components of the College Hill Master Plan are symbols of our urban core's revival. Though murals are often impermanent, Joerael Elliott’s project clearly resonated with many community members. Knight values the power of art to connect people to their communities and each other. We are confident that public art will continue to be an integral part of Macon’s future.Elliott’s Mercer Village mural was funded by the College Hill Corridor Commission, which was supported by Knight Foundation.

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