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Two New Philadelphia Murals Highlight Societal Conflicts in Colonial America

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Independence Visitors Center is now home to a couple of new murals.

Two murals were unveiled here today, in the corridor that connects the building with the adjacent underground parking garage.

The murals took eight months to paint.

"This is based on the quote from Francis Hopkinson," explains mural artist David Gordon, "describing a procession in 1788 where he writes that the Christian clergy including the Rabbi of the Jews are walking arm in arm -- and that just sent off lightbulbs for me.  They're all feeling really good about themselves, but they left out a big part of the people in this country!  And Reverend (Richard) Allen was not allowed to march in that parade."

Kristina Palmer, with the Mural Arts Program, says these two murals depict America's potential.

"One mural depicts the beginning of the 1787 Constitutional Convention," she explains, "and what you see is the celebration of them coming forward and patting themselves on the back for the progress that they've made.  Whereas the other mural [below] depicts the women reading the signed document to see what's there for them -- and there's really nothing at that point in time."

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mural women
In a colonial marketplace, a woman (far left) peruses the new Constitution. Photo by Hadas Kuznits


And she says if you look closely, you'll see there are some ominous signs in the paintings.

"The hooks are actually where a lot of the carcasses of the cows were hung, and they remind you of some of the things that hooks were used for over the next 200 years in our history."

Palmer notes that it would be 120 years before women got the right to vote, and 145 years until African-Americans got that right.

"It doesn't put them on the same level as their male counterparts during that time," Palmer points out.

Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060

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