Library’s ‘lynching quilt’ sparks controversy

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An exhibit at the Indianapolis Central Library includes a piece of art that many people will view as controversial.

It focuses on the lynching of an African-American woman in 1911. While there are records of women being lynched in America, Laura Nelson is the only such victim whose picture was taken. A quilt that displays the image is generating some emotional reactions.

It’s not often a library art display can elicit serious emotions.

“It’s offensive to me just looking at it,” said Chris Henderson.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Abigail Fatnassi.

Some onlookers were shocked by the image.

“The Lynching of Laura Nelson” is a quilt that features a 1911 photograph of an African-American woman hanged in Oklahoma. The artist hopes it can be a teaching tool.

The quilt’s fabric comes from women around the country who wanted to participate in the project.

But make no mistake. It’s the picture at the center that visitors are focused on.

“We have to deal with it head on. I know that it could be painful for some people. I know that some people are angry, some people cry,” said artist LaShawnda Crowe Storm.