Milton's solution to Black Lives Matter street mural controversy: An anti-racism art cube

Annie Blanks Pensacola News JournalPublished 12:56 PM EDT Aug 24, 2020The city of Milton has come to a comprom

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The city of Milton has come to a compromise over the controversy stemming from a Black Lives Matter mural originally proposed for a city street by approving a four-sided cube that will be placed somewhere downtown and feature anti-racism artistic sentiments approved by the City Council. 

The cube project was proposed by Milton United, the new name for the group that first proposed the Black Lives Matter street mural. The new proposition, which was created in conjunction with city staff and presented to the City Council on Thursday night, involves an 8-by-8 foot cube with blank canvasses on all four side, that has been in city storage for the past two years. 

Controversy over mural proposal: Milton residents voice opposition to potential 'Black Lives Matter' mural on city street

“Although we have made strides and we are not here to divide this city, we came here with a vision," said Madelyn Gonzales, a representative for Milton United, before she presented the cube idea at Thursday night's meeting. "And if you want to make changes, your vision may not be everyone’s vision, so you have to take into consideration other people.”

The council approved the concept at its Thursday committee of the whole meeting, in a rare instance of unanimous agreement after arguing about the street mural for several consecutive meetings. The council ultimately denied the idea for a Black Lives Matter street mural in late July due to legal issues with freedom of expression, concerns over divisiveness and a city ordinance that does not allow paintings on city streets.

Stalemate over mural: Milton City Council takes no action on Black Lives Matter street mural — for now

The cube was given to the city by Arcadia Mill two years ago, but has sat in storage after the council couldn't decide what to do with it. The new anti-racism murals will be on the cube for around six to eight months, and the council will have authority to approve or deny what to ultimately put on the cube. Other groups can come to the council to propose their own ideas and messages for the cube in the future. 

The concept approved Thursday night involves four separate murals, one on each side of the cube, all under the common theme "Embrace Milton, Reject Racism." One side will feature multiple palm prints in different colors and another the city of Milton logo. A Milton United logo and a poem by Maya Angelou will appear on two other sides.

"I think this is a great proof of concept, something we can put together that promotes positivity, promotes traffic as far as our businesses are concerned, and it suits all the things that we wanted it to do," said Councilman Casey Powell. "But I think that having this message on there as the first message is something that I would really love to see. I think this message that we’ve come together with and has been presented tonight is a message of unity, obviously, but also a message that says that we reject racism in all forms against any person, and we just want to put out there that we are united as a community."

Milton United will raise the funds to purchase the paints and paint the cube itself. The council has not decided where the cube will be placed, only that it will be downtown, or for how long it will be on display. 

Annie Blanks can be reached at or 850-435-8632.
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