Opinion

What You Said: Old Ada Courthouse lynching murals

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2007, file photo, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Vice Chairman Lee Juan Tyler talks with others from his group while shooting some video of murals depicting the lynching of an Indian during a tour of the old Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. State officials are hosting a public hearing to determine if two historic murals should remain hidden from the public view. The murals include scenes of white settlers preparing to hang Native Americans. The paintings have caused controversy in the past, but now Idaho’s Historical Society is objecting to covering up the murals, calling them a part of the state’s history that the public can learn from.
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2007, file photo, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Vice Chairman Lee Juan Tyler talks with others from his group while shooting some video of murals depicting the lynching of an Indian during a tour of the old Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. State officials are hosting a public hearing to determine if two historic murals should remain hidden from the public view. The murals include scenes of white settlers preparing to hang Native Americans. The paintings have caused controversy in the past, but now Idaho’s Historical Society is objecting to covering up the murals, calling them a part of the state’s history that the public can learn from. AP

We like hearing from our audience. One of the traditional ways is to publish your Letters to the Editor — which we’ve been doing for over a century — or present your Guest Opinions about the issues of the day.

In the digital age we have new platforms to work with. Our social media platforms, in some ways, present new and instantaneous paths to share what’s on your mind. Realizing that not everybody monitors Facebook and Twitter, we’re going to occasionally present to our print readers what’s being said on those platforms.

The debate over what to do with two murals depicting the lynching of an American Indian displayed at the old Ada County Courthouse continues. Cover them up because they are offensive, or let them speak from the past about wrongs that should never happen again?

Thursday we posed a question on Facebook: Has your mind changed at all on the murals over time, one way or the other? Here is What You Said:

Jennifer Rummler If you want to preserve the history, take a picture of them for the archives. I appreciate art as a general rule, but I think it's awful to keep these up in a public place. I say replace them.

Raquel Croitoru Whitewashing history is not a good idea. It happened. It was real. And if we forget — it may happen again.

Jeremy Feucht There is a constant complaint that winners write history to make themselves look good. This is an example of it backfiring yet we want to remove this? Sounds like we are truly making sure those that died and the situations surrounding their deaths are forgotten.

George Howard Just not enough real problems to worry about I guess.

Carl Roberts I am curious as to how the subject matter of the paintings was decided upon. Did those who commissioned the paintings think, "We should have paintings of lynchings because everyone agrees with lynching minorities." or, "Everyone in Idaho lynches Indi...See More

Drew Anthony You have got to document the mural in totality before getting rid of it. It represents a dark chapter in American history that cannot be forgotten. We must remember our past or we are doomed to repeat it.

Ryan Scott Hunter So many other more important things to worry about in this world. In other words, who gives a flying crap???

Ross Christensen They'll complain about anything.

Lorenzo Washington Cover it up or move it to a museum. The public doesn't learn from history's mistakes...just look at all the racial divide.

In a Twitter poll we initiated we asked people about the mural:

As of press time, there had been about 60 votes. Two thirds of the voters (67 percent ) said display it, and one third (33 percent) said to cover them.

Also on Thursday in our Today’s Question feature we asked about those of you who voted in Tuesday’s municipal elections. What got you to vote?

Here are some of the results:

Bryan Jennings I went to vote on the Boise mayoral race.

Todd Campbell I wanted to vote for mayor, and felt strongly about the Foothills levy and the West Ada school district vote.

Teresa Hutton Shively I consider it my duty as a free citizen. So many do not have that freedom, I try not to take it for granted.

Jennifer Rummler Mismanagement of money in Nampa. Our property taxes are ridiculous. We need council members who will work to use money wisely. Also the schools need money, and the levy won't make a noticeable difference financially to anyone.

Jake Pereira I absolutely agree with Teresa Hutton Shively, far too many souls much more deserving of life than me, have given their lives to preserve our right to vote for a way of life of OUR own choosing. The best way we can honor them is to take a few minutes out of our day to further that ideal.

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