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Fri Aug 30, 2013, 02:13 PM

Dallas County Is Turning Its "White Only" Water Fountain Into a Multimedia Art Installation

Dallas County had long since forgotten what the metal plate above the water fountain in the Records Building was meant to conceal when, in 2003, it fell off. Even then, you had to be looking for it to notice the faded remnants of the "White Only" sign on the marble wall, or you did until commissioners marked the spot with a commemorative plaque over the objections of some black leaders.

The sign is still visible today, a way "to remind us of this unpleasant portion of our history," as it's phrased on the plaque. And now, since there can never be too much reminding, the county plans to turn the water fountain itself into a multimedia art installation documenting the fight for equality.

The plan isn't actually new. Artist Lauren Woods first pitched it to commissioners way back in 2005, envisioning a functioning water fountain that, when a thirsty passerby stopped for a drink, would project a 45-second montage of scenes from the civil rights struggle onto the wall above.

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Her original concept for the fountain would have it playing the entire clip before dispensing water. Commissioners nixed the idea, though John Wiley Price declared that 45 seconds isn't that long to wait for a sip of water. "Some of us waited 45 years."

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/08/dallas_county_whites_only_sign.php .

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