Residents of Pearl, Mississippi, aren’t sure what to make about a controversial billboard that has appeared on a roadside in their town.
The billboard contains the words “Make America Great Again,” which was President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, superimposed over a 1965 photograph by Spider Martin depicting Civil Rights protesters in a standoff with state troopers.
The scene depicted took place just minutes before violence broke out that resulted in the "Bloody Sunday" conflict, during which protesters were beaten with clubs and tear gassed in Selma, Alabama, over voting rights.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers both want the billboard to be taken down because of its potential to be divisive, and residents aren’t sure what to make of it: Is it trying to raise racial tensions? Show support for Trump protesters? For police?
The billboard was paid for by ForFreedoms.org, a political action committee that uses art to encourage political thought and engagement. According to co-founder Eric Gottesman, the billboard belongs to a national ad campaign that aims to speak on topics like gun control and campaign finance, CNN reported.
"What we're trying to do is use art to provoke people to talk about these things and bring them to a different kind of conversation, one that goes beyond symbolic gestures of what America is supposed to stand for," Gottesman told CNN.
He said the billboard is doing its job if people are talking about it, and said it begs the question, when exactly was America great?
The controversial billboard was placed in Pearl, Mississippi, since there was no space available in Selma, Alabama, CNN said.
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