Elgin officials relocate controversial lynching mural

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ELGIN, Ill. -- A controversial mural in suburban Elgin is moving to a new home.

The mural was there for about 10 years before someone realized it was based on a photo of a lynching. That sparked an outcry on social media, and Elgin city officials responded by relocating it.

At Spring and Grove in Elgin, workers took down down the mural called “American Nocturne,” moving it to the Hemmens Cultural Center. The controversial artwork was based on a photo taken in Indiana in 1930. It shows the mob gathered around two black men hanging from trees, after being lynched.

The mural focuses on the faces in the crowd. City officials say the intent of the artist, David Powers, was to encourage conversation. Confronting evil by not ignoring the past.

Elgin has its own history of racial tension. And for some, the mural struck a nerve, outrage magnified over social media. City officials made the decision to relocate the piece citing concerns it could be vandalized.

Elgin will hold community discussions on the mural on June 7 and June 13.