The Black Lives Matter street mural in Florence, South Carolina was finished on September 14th, 2020, after 3 days of painting. This mural, originally located on Barnes Street, was approved by the city. Jamal Howard was the lead artist and designer. Initial plans were for the mural to be painted in July 2020, but the weather in July was either too hot or too wet. Volunteers of all ages from the city came together during the weekend to help paint the mural, which can be described as “begins with a woman, ends with a woman, and in between masculine symbols, Africa, a crown, a winged lion, liberty and a chain” (U.S. News).
In October 2020, about a month after the mural was finished, Mayor Stephen J. Wukela of Florence, South Carolina ordered that the mural was to be removed. The mural was approved by the city and one of the terms of agreement was that the paint used for the mural was supposed to be biodegradable, and would have washed away in a normal rain cycle. Instead, the painters used permanent paint. The mural was also vandalized with racist messages which also played a factor in having the mural removed. The mayor said “I am deeply disturbed by the racially motivated vandalism of this piece of art… I am also disappointed in the organizer’s failure to comply with the terms of the authorization for which they applied. In any event, given that the mural has been defaced and that it is in violation of the city authorization, the city will be forced to remove the mural” (WMBF News).
The mural was originally going to be painted on Pine Street, but the process to get the mural approved on a state street was too complicated. Because Barnes Street was a city street and not heavily traveled on holiday weekends, it was easily approved. The mural came about due to the events that occurred in the summer of 2020, such as the death of George Floyd and many BLM protests around the country. Vice president Damien Douglas of Making a Difference, the charity group that donated supplies for the mural, said “Just because things going on around the world didn’t happen here, doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us all” (U.S. News).
Accettulla, Kevin. “City of Florence to Remove Black Lives Matter Mural.” WBTW, WBTW, 23 Oct. 2020, https://www.wbtw.com/news/pee-dee/florence-black-lives-matter-mural-to-be-removed/.
Robertson, Mathew. “South Carolina Community Paints Black Lives Matter Mural.” U.S. News, 14 Sept. 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-carolina/articles/2020-09-14/south-carolina-community-paints-black-lives-matter-mural.
Staff, WMBF News. “'Black Lives Matter' Mural in Florence to Be Removed, Mayor Says.” Https://Www.wmbfnews.com, 22 Oct. 2020, https://www.wmbfnews.com/2020/10/22/black-lives-matter-mural-florence-removed-mayor-says/.Researched by the Urban Art Mapping Team
News Coverage by US News and WMBF News