By Associated Press - Friday, July 10, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa is spending $1 million to remove spray-painted messages Black Lives Matter protesters left on campus buildings earlier this summer. But not before documenting and preserving the images for future generations.

Hundreds of protesters who gathered and marched across the campus in recent weeks left a slew of social justice messages on building, including residence halls, Kinnick Stadium, buildings on the UI Hospitals and Clinics campus, the 178-year-old Old Capitol, 93-year-old Field House and the 112-year-old President’s Residence overlooking an Iowa River bluff.

The $1 million cleanup will employ five Iowa companies using special care to remove the spray paint from building exteriors, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported.

To preserve the messages, UI Libraries will work with the Old Capitol Museum and Stanley Museum of Art to collect photos in an institutional archive that will grow and expand with additional documents, video clips, sound recordings and first-person narratives.

Images of the graffiti eventually will be made available online, said Margaret Gamm, head of the UI Special Collections and University Archives.

“This process ensures the photos will be easy to access and will raise the visibility of the vital information they contain: the voices of marginalized people,” Gamm said.

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