University of Wisconsin–Madison

John Steuart Curry mural completed in 1942

Curry mural

Law Dean Garrison, the great-grandson of famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, commissioned John Steuart Curry’s iconic ‘Freeing of the Slaves’ for UW’s Law Library after the U.S. Department of Justice rejected it as controversial. Garrison felt a strong connection to the work:

“Here is one of the great events in our constitutional history, an event fashioned in the midst of a national crisis by a great lawyer-president. The mural not only symbolizes that event but proclaims in a noble and patriotic setting the dignity and freedom of all persons, however humble, in a democracy whose ideals of liberty are summed up and protected by the constitution.”

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