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Henderson: Shouldn't courthouse artwork represent all North Dakotans?

I had the privilege of working in the Cass County Courthouse for many years, and I often admired the murals on the rotunda ceiling. Karen Bakke did a wonderful job of renovating the original work. But I think the county administration missed an i...

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I had the privilege of working in the Cass County Courthouse for many years, and I often admired the murals on the rotunda ceiling. Karen Bakke did a wonderful job of renovating the original work. But I think the county administration missed an invaluable opportunity to revisit the cultural assumptions that informed the original work in 1906.

It is unfortunate that all of the figures depicted in the murals are white. Where are the Native Americans, African Americans, migrant workers, non-European immigrants and others who contributed to the culture of North Dakota, and are an integral part of our community today?

Everyone who comes into the courthouse should feel a sense of pride and belonging.

I'm sure there was no conscious intention to marginalize any residents of Cass County, but I'm afraid these murals might have that effect. Is there other artwork in the courthouse that honors the contribution of all residents of the county? If not, I hope the commission will correct that oversight.

Henderson lives in Moorhead.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY COURTHOUSE
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