Greenburgh mural meant to celebrate black history, BLM becomes symbol of hate for some

A mural meant to celebrate black history and the Black Lives Matter movement has become a symbol of hatred for some.

The controversy centers on a painting by Louis Farrakhan, a polarizing figure who also organized the Million Man March on Washington in 1995.

He has also made many controversial statements against Jews and the LGBTQ+ community.

The mural is located under I-287 on Manhattan Avenue in the town of Greenburgh

The city council decided to repaint Farrakhan’s image.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said an image of Farrakhan never made it into the approved sketches.

He said the city spent $100,000 in taxpayer money on the mural.

“It’s not paid for by individuals, and we don’t want to offend anyone in the city,” he says.

Feiner says the decision to retire Farrakhan has been made and she should be repainted next week.

A spokesperson for the Westchester Jewish Council released the following statement:

“The Jewish Council of Westchester welcomes the celebration of the achievements of African Americans through the Manhattan Avenue Mural Project. The inclusion of Louis Farrakhan, however, was wrong, hurtful and inappropriate. Farrakhan is one of the nation’s most prominent anti-Semites, and his long and public history of anti-Jewish and other bigoted comments makes his inclusion in this project completely inappropriate. We thank Greenburgh City Council for taking action and ordering the depiction of Farrakhan in the mural to be painted.

The City Council also released this statement:

An image of Louis Farrakhan on the mural was never approved by the city and will be removed.

Per the contract between the city and the artist, the design of the mural required approval from the Black Lives Matter Committee, its Manhattan Avenue Mural Subcommittee, and the City Council. Although the artist’s interpretation of artistic expression was well received, the addition of Louis Farrakhan and several others was never approved by the City. The Black Lives Matter Manhattan Avenue Mural Subcommittee therefore voted to remove the unauthorized images. The artist has agreed to have Louis Farrakhan removed from the mural and have the image removed this week. Added content continues to require city approval. We look forward to celebrating the completion of this mural, which is a celebration of black history.

Greenburgh City Council continues to support the city’s Black Lives Matter initiatives and is committed to continued support through the Black Lives Matter Committee (signage), the Greenburgh Task Force Against Systemic Racism, the human rights and other efforts.

Greenburgh City Council is united against racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and anti LBGTQ.

Greenburgh City Council does not believe in censorship of artistic expression and recognizes protest as a valid form of political expression.

James V. Hayes