Some students and alumni at Texas Southern University are annoyed with the school’s president, John Rudley, after he decided to paint over several campus murals, apparently due to their political content. According to an article by Sarah Raslan in the Houston Chronicle:

Two murals painted by a Texas Southern University student 40 years ago were ordered destroyed by… Rudley, who disagreed with the university museum director’s opinion that the artworks’ historical significance made them worth saving.

Workers used white paint last week to cover the murals painted by Harvey Johnson, who retired from TSU in 2007 after 34 years as a professor. Rudley said the murals, which covered two walls in the Hannah Hall administration building, had become eyesores.

The murals (example above) were painted in 1971 by student Harvey Johnson. Johnson went on to teach at the universality, retiring in 2007. His murals reflected the Black Power movement.

“When I bring dignitaries to campus, I can’t have them seeing that kind of thing,” the TSU president said. “All art isn’t good art.”

Last week the school announced that it planned to spend $50,000 to restore the other murals on campus. Student-painted murals were once very common at TSU, back when the muralist John Biggers served as an instructor at the historically black college.[Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer