ITHACA, N.Y.– Plain Street drivers and joggers noticed something out of the usual while following their Sunday morning routines — Ithaca’s first and only Black Lives Matter street mural was defaced.
The word “BLACK” on the Plain Street mural was completely painted over, residents and passersby noticed on Sunday. It’s still unclear why the mural was defaced or who did it.
Three vandals were caught on home video defacing the Black Lives Matter street mural at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. The three vandals wore hoods and caps to conceal their identities and used black paint to cover the lettering that had been painted by community members several weeks earlier.
The mural, located between Cayuga Street and Green Street, was organized by Black Hands Universal Founder Harry Smith, Black Girl Alchemist and MBK with support from Southside Community Center, Greater Ithaca Activities Center and several local artists. Local families came together to paint each of the letters by hand with unique designs that recognized Black culture and the diversity within the Black community.
Very soon after notice of the defacement spread, community members gathered on Plain Street to repaint the missing word. Several quotes from Black historical figures had also been painted over.
The defacement was referenced during weekly Sunday protesters during the 2 o’clock rally. One protest organizer said that while walking to the rally she’d noticed the mural. She then asked the group “how much more of this are we going to take?”
In August, while the mural was still being erected, Harry Smith was questioned about the likelihood of the mural being defaced, he responded, “if that happens, we’ll be right back out to repaint it.”
After Sunday’s rally, attendees marched to the Plain Street mural to help repaint the symbol. Over fifty people gathered along the block to replace what had been removed from the mural.
This is the first time the Plain St. mural has been defaced. In August, a Black Lives Matter mural, located on Green Street, was defaced twice within the week of its erection. Around the City various BLM graffiti has been defaced and repainted to say All Lives Matter.