"Murals of slaves harvesting sugar cane on a Georgia plantation and picking and ginning cotton are coming off the walls of a state building on the order of a new agriculture commissioner.
The murals are part of a collection of eight works painted by George Beattie in 1956 depicting an idealized version of Georgia farming, from the corn grown by prehistoric American Indians to a 20th-century veterinary lab. In the Deep South, the history in between includes the forced use of slave labor.
"I don't like those pictures," said Republican Gary Black, the newly elected agriculture commissioner. "There are a lot of other people who don't like them."
In one painting, two well-dressed white gentlemen in top hats and dress coats leisurely inspect processed cotton. They're framed on either side by black slaves doing the backbreaking work of cotton farming.
On the left, a slave hunches over to pick cotton bolls by hand. Two other slaves are using the infamous Whitney gin - invented near Savannah - to separate cotton fiber from seeds as a white overseer weighs cotton bags behind them.