-- A Massachusetts museum dedicated to the work of Theodor Geisel — more famously known as Dr. Seuss — swapped out a mural that sparked controversy with what some considered a racial stereotype, the Springfield Museums announced Tuesday.
The mural, which contained illustrations from Dr. Seuss’ first book, “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” drew criticism and a boycott by several authors for its caricature of an Asian man in stereotypical garb, running with a bowl of rice in one hand and chopsticks in the other.
The controversy over the book and its depictions appears to have started when a librarian at the Cambridgeport School in Cambridge, Mass. rejected Dr. Seuss books donated by first lady Melania Trump, saying Geisel’s work was steeped in racist propaganda and stereotypes.
The museum did not address the controversy when announcing the new mural.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises, in conjunction with the Springfield Museums, is thrilled to honor Theodor Seuss Geisel’s legacy as a proud citizen of Springfield and as a children’s book author who has delighted and educated children for generations,” the museum said in a statement. “The new mural is a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s wonderful journey starting on Mulberry Street and ending with Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, who advocated last year to keep the original mural, said in a statement it’s “time to move on.”
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises holds all the cards and it’s not worth winning the battle only to lose the war,” Sarno said in a statement. “ … I believe people will be pleased with the new mural, which proudly continues to depict our beloved Dr. Seuss and our beloved Springfield.”