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Newark Library Removes Cover From Graphic, Controversial Drawing

Books (file / credit: clipart.com)

Books (file / credit: clipart.com)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials at the Newark Public Library have decided to uncover a controversial drawing that was cloaked in cloth a couple of months ago, after some staffers deemed it offensive.

The drawing was created by noted African-American visual artist Kara Walker, and depicts the horrors of reconstruction and during the Jim Crow era in the 20th century.

The drawing shows images of burning crosses and hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan, among other horrifying sights. But the image that led library officials to cover it up showed a white man holding a black woman’s head to his crotch, implying oral sex.

The drawing was initially hung during Thanksgiving in the library’s second-floor reference room. But officials reluctantly covered it up after one day because some workers said it was inappropriate and insensitive.

The Star-Ledger reported library officials and staffers have since met to discuss the drawing, and decided it could be uncovered.

The library will invite Walker to talk about the work, artistic freedom and the role of black artists in society.

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