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Maine Governor Wants Mural with Frances Perkins Image Removed

Some scenes from the mural Maine Gov. Paul LePage wants removed. Social work icon Frances Perkins is depicted in the center panel on the left.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage plans to remove a mural from the State Department of Labor because it is too pro-labor and has offended some business owners, according to this article on Salon.com.

The mural “sends a message that we’re one-sided, and I don’t want to send that message,” the governor said.

SocialWorkersSpeak.org wants to send a big jeer to Gov. LaPage because the mural contains the image of social work heroine Frances Perkins, who was labor secretary during the Great Depression and has family roots in Maine. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Perkins implemented many benefits workers now take for granted, including unemployment insurance and Social Security.

Besides taking out the mural, LaPage wants to rename conference rooms in the state building named after Frances Perkins and other labor leaders, according to this Salon column from Robert Reich, who was labor secretary under President Clinton.

Reich said LaPage may have his way in Maine but the U.S. Labor Department building in Washington, D.C. is still named after Frances Perkins and her portrait hangs there.

“Governor, you might be able to erase some of Maine’s memory, but you’ll have a hard time erasing the nation’s memory — even if it’s not in keeping with your pro-business goals,” Reich wrote.

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4 Comments

  1. This really is so absurd…another political travesty.

  2. Just erase the history you don’t like, Governor, and paint over the past. People with mental health issues are just not trying hard enough, right, sir? Once we erase social history we can go back to the early 1900s when workers took sick at the cost of their jobs, and every family member worked for pennies an hour 12-7. Addiction, depression, schizophrenia? Toss’em in jail!

  3. I hope that we can counteract these attacks on social work and history. What is our organization going to do? How can we help?

  4. This action by the Maine governor is definitely in the flavor of attempts to rewrite history by the Bolsheviks in post revolutionary USSR and by the Nazis in pre-WWII Germany. Whether it works or not will depend upon how determined the historians in Maine’s high schools and universities are to preserve the truth. But the fact that this has become an issue is a milestone in how anti-labor and how uncritically pro-business this nation is becoming. This is nasty stuff but who cares about Maine anyway?

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