Renewed effort planned to remove 'KKK painting' from the Baker County Courthouse

Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., there may be more efforts to have a controversial mural removed from a courthouse in Baker County.

MACCLENNY, Fla. - In the wake of the Charlottesville attacks, there may now be a renewed effort to get the painting depicting Ku Klux Klan members removed from the Baker County Courthouse.

A mural inside the Baker County Courthouse depicting members of the Ku Klux Klan has sparked controversy in the last few years.

The controversy appears in the form of three Ku Klux Klan members riding horseback in the courthouse painting.

The art has sparked an outcry; more than 8,000 people have signed a petition to have the painting removed. Jacksonville attorney John Phillips started the petition and said in the wake of Charlottesville, he would like to once again open it to signatures. Phillips said he plans to send the petition to Baker County officials this week.

Melanie Matrascia acknowledges racism is alive and well, but said she sees no problem with the KKK in the painting. She said you can't erase history.

"This is history, no matter what you do, it's not going to change," Matrascia said.

Brandon Paige from nearby Sanderson said he believes the mural does in a way pay homage to the KKK, but said history is history that a painting doesn't affect his life.

"I'm going to go to work and do my job and take care of my kids and my family," Paige said.

First Coast News reached out to several Baker County officials for comment, the vast majority did not reply back. County Commissioner James Croft said there are no plans to remove the painting after Charlottesville.

Matrascia came to the courthouse to discover a little history of her own: the marriage licenses of her great grandparents in her family with deep Florida roots. In her mind, history is like family.

"You have people in your family, I'm sure everybody does, that has done things that you're not happy with, that you don't like what they did, but you can't erase them, you can't take them out of your family. This is what we have here, this is our history of Florida," Matrascia said.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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