Mayor Strickland decides to keep controversial downtown mural

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Downtown civil rights mural isn't going anywhere.

Mayor Strickland made the decision Monday afternoon after the city considered painting over it.

Towering high above the corner of MLK Avenue and South Main, the civil rights mural depicts icons like Ida B. Wells.

Painted in 2016, the mural includes a number of different images - including a fatherless black family and a 'Black Lives Matter' inscription.

The city reportedly got complaints about both.

"It seems like most of the critiques are coming from a very small group of people,"

Artist Michael Roy took to social media to post about the possibility of the city painting over the mural.

Hundreds of comments posted were in support of keeping it up.

"The response I've gotten has been really positive," Roy said.

Roy and fellow artist Derrick Dent say they followed a sketch approved by housing and community development and made a number of changes the city requested along the way.

"We were willing to listen," Roy said.

The artists were happy to hear that the mural was here to stay, but are willing to let the public decide if need be.

"I definitely don't want a piece of public art up that the public doesn't like," Roy said. "It it's an unloved mural, or if it poorly represents Memphis or the community which it was supposed to portray, it should go."

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