A mural that has graced the walls of the post offices in Jackson for 80 years is now covered in black plastic and may be coming down after alleged complaints were made about its subject matter.
The mural, titled “Cotton: From Field to Mill,” was painted in 1938 by renowned American artist Phillip Evergood as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration (WPA), a federally sponsored program that put millions of Americans left jobless by the Great Depression back to work to help revive the economy.
The WPA is best known for Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which built thousands of roads, schools, theaters, libraries, hospitals, post offices, courthouses, airports, parks, forests, and gardens. In Butts County, trees were planted and parks developed, streets and roads were improved, sidewalks laid, a new school building was built, a new post office, and even a new jail.
Murals were painted to be placed in many post offices across the country as part of the WPA program, including the Jackson post office (now the Jackson Municipal Court building) on Mulberry Street. The plan was to provide art for the people.
Evergood’s commissioned mural depicts Black and white farm workers harvesting cotton and loading it to be taken the mill during the Great Depression.
It was placed in the main entranceway to the post office of Mulberry Street in 1940 and remained there until the new post office was built in the mid-1990s on 2nd Street at Ga. Highway 36 East. When the mural was moved to the new post office, there was a minor controversy when it was found that in order to place it over the postmaster’s office door, a 36-inch section at the bottom in the center of the mural, needed to be removed in order to fit it around the door frame. Art experts were brought in and it was determined that removing that section would not affect the integrity of the mural.
But now the entire mural may be removed. After allegedly receiving at least one complaint about the depiction of Blacks picking cotton in the mural, the Postal Service had black plastic placed over it until a decision is made whether or not to remove it.
The Progress-Argus has been in contact with the United States Postal Service (USPS), but has not received any comments or information back about the future of the mural. Jackson Postmaster Dana Jones said she was not allowed to speak to news media. The Progress-Argus sent emails to USPS media representatives in Atlanta and Macon, but has not received a response to questions related to what type of complaints were made and how many were received, if the mural be taken down, and if so, where will it go?
The Progress-Argus will update this article when more information is received.