Community to review new underpass mural commemorating a rough past

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COLUMBIA - The community has been invited to discuss a new mural draft plan for the Stewart road underpass. 

The project will feature prominent black leaders and symbolism throughout the mural. The message behind it is for the community to recognize the past wrongdoings in history and learn from it. 

In 1923, a black Columbia native, James T. Scott was lynched in the area where the mural will be made. The art piece will take that rough piece of history and use it as a marker for Columbia to improve from. 

The mural will feature a quote from civil rights activist James Baldwin: "Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Lead artist Madeleine LeMieux says this commemoration could bring a larger impact than basic appreciation for art. 

"I think as an artist, this is the most exciting work. Bringing communities together to look at issues beyond 'Is this beautiful?', or 'Is this interesting?' How does this affect our daily lives?" said LeMieux. 

Columbia resident Courtney Richardson believes a piece of art like this could have an impact if done the right way. 

"I think having a mural dedicated for this purpose is a great idea. I only hope that those who are making this mural will acknowledge everything that took place at this site," said Richardson.  

"Diversity is growing in Columbia and I love anything that helps others acknowledge the need for acceptance and promoting change. Educating others in anyway possible, especially through art, is always something I am open for."

The meeting will take place Monday at five p.m. and will be led by LeMieux as well as artists from the Career Awareness Related Experience program who helped in forming the design of the mural.