Justice is Blind

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Justice is Blind is a mural by Ronald Scott McDowell in the lobby of the Jefferson County Courthouse alongside the original "Old South and New South" murals painted in 1931 by John W. Norton.

The mural was commissioned in the wake of complaints about how the 1931 murals depicted African Americans as slaves in the "Old South" and as unskilled labor in the "New South". Suggestions to keep, remove, cover, alter or supplement the historic murals were considered by a 16-member committee. The consensus reached was to preserve the existing artwork and to commission McDowell, a Tuskegee-based artist, to complete a new mural representing progress made since the 1930s.

The mural presents black and white figures of "Lady Justice" above a diverse array of robed judges. The mural also depicts law books, two bald eagles, flags of the United States and of Alabama, the Jefferson County seal, and the Jefferson County Courthouse. McDowell said he worked on the mural for three years.

The size of the mural, 6 1/2 feet wide by 17 feet tall, approximates the size of the 1931 murals. McDowell's commission to create and install the painting was $185,000.

The completed mural was dedicated on April 24, 2018.

References

  • Owens, Cody (November 17, 2015) "Committee to decide fate of courthouse murals." Weld for Birmingham
  • Edgemon, Erin (August 29, 2017) "Jefferson County to leave slave images in courthouse, new murals planned." The Birmingham News
  • Worthy, Ariel (April 24, 2018) "Jefferson County adds 'inclusive' mural to downtown courthouse." The Birmingham Times
  • Wright, Erica (February 1, 2018) "After complaints about slave mural, Jefferson County to unveil new paintings in April." The Birmingham Times