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Archive for Thursday, March 1, 1990

NEIGHBORLY PAINTING PROJECT HELPS REPLACE HATE WITH LOVE

March 1, 1990

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When Rosie Shorter looks at the side of her garage, she may remember more vividly that Feburary was National Black History Month.

That's because racist graffiti on the side of the garage, near New York and 12th streets, has been painted over and replaced by a line painting of Martin Luther King Jr.

"I thought it was really unique," she said Wednesday. "We noticed one day that someone had come by and painted this ugly word on the garage `KKK.'

"Then, about three or four weeks ago, somebody called me and asked if they could paint the garage," Mrs. Shorter said.

"I said that would be fine. Later we noticed that they had painted this beautiful picture of Martin Luther King."

The painters of the garage are members of the East Lawrence Improvement Assn.

Kathly Lepper, a board member of the association, said she and other east Lawrence residents decided to remove the graffiti about three weeks ago.

"When we saw it, we just said that it had to be removed," she said. "A couple of us would just come by every night after work and scrape a little bit at a time."

Lepper said neighbors offered to help with the project by providing new paint and offering to scrape away the old.

"It was really nice to see everyone who wanted to help," she said.

Lepper said that Ari Finke, an east Lawrence resident, painted the characture of King.

"I hope the person who wrote the first word can see what's up there now and realize that hate has been replaced by love," Mrs. Shorter said.

Mrs. Shorter and her husband have lived on the 1100 block of New York since 1971. The garage was first painted with racist graffiti about two years ago, she said.

Vandals also have ripped out flowers in her front yard and damaged her car several times over the years.

"I think that because we try to make things look nice that somebody just gets jealous," she said.

"I just hope that if this person is a child, he will grow up. If it's a grown person, maybe he will wisen up."

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