Martin Luther King graffiti art vandalized, Care Bear survives in Kankakee

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Enraged residents of Kankakee County spoke out this past weekend following the erasure of a Martin Luther King Jr. mural that had been painted on a railroad support beam on Kennedy Drive in Kankakee. It is believed to have been painted over sometime between Thursday, July 9th, and Saturday, July 11th.

The graffiti mural featured the historic minister and civil rights activist with the phrase: “I still have a dream” in monotone paint.

Residents are claiming the erasure is an act of racism, citing the surviving Care Bear on the mirror platform across the road. The Care Bear, a depiction of Tenderheart Bear, leader of the Care Bears, has been on the platform for nearly a decade.

The surviving Care Bear on the other platform. [Image: Instagram user @lorettaindigomarymalone]

Residents of the area weighted in on the act this past weekend on Social Media:

  • “I thought at first the city did it, but the care bear is still there, so that means some douche bag did it.  I thought it was very cool and I hope the person who painted it, goes back and paints the mural again.” – Kathi Phillips
  • “I read that every time I passed it, found peace in it and wish he was still here.  Maybe things would be different!  I hope whoever put it up there replaces it.” – Cindy Smith Baker
  • “I think that mural beautiful.  That was done free hand, somebody has a hell of a lot of talent.” – Mary Whittington
  • “Nobody has a right to put anything there.  It’s state or rail road property.” – Neal Massengill Sr
  • “I can’t say I would promote people spraypainting!  But that was a very talented person that created that artwork!  It was good enough art it should have stayed.” – Lance Marczak
  • “That Care Bear has been there for at least a good year.  Blatant racism.” – Deborah Goddard

What do you think? Should the Care Bear be censored, the MLK art redone, or a massive manhunt for the unknown perpetrator who covered it up? Let us know below.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In general, i think murals should be made legal since doing otherwise stifles art and free expression.

  2. Wow, this is a tough one. I’m not really a fan of graffiti per se, but I thought the MLK mural was incredibly well done and a positive message under the current circumstances. I’m amazed that the placing of the mural and the painting over of it happened without anyone seeing it, because Kennedy Drive is such a main thoroughfare 24/7. Frankly, I have never really noticed the care bear, and I’ve always wished they would paint that stinking overpass because it is such a huge eyesore, and makes the whole town look run down. The difficulty of all of this is that technically, nobody should be painting or painting over anything that isn’t their private property; and I’m afraid that if the mural is repainted, it will just start a war of painting and repainting. Tough call.

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