Joe Jones’ “The Struggle In the South” [Mural]

The Struggle in the South is a 44′ x 9′ mural by Joe Jones that includes dramatic scenes of striking miners and a lynching attempt. Completed in 1935, this painting is an example of Jones’s protest art during the years of the Great Depression.

In the summer of 1935, Jones traveled to Mena, Arkansas where he had been engaged as a lecturer on proletarian art at Commonwealth College, a labor college, and was commissioned to paint a mural in the school’s dining hall depicting Arkansas laborers. Jones traveled around Arkansas in order to gather photographic images to use for the mural, finishing The Struggle in the South in early September 1935. Commonwealth College closed five years later.

Forty-four years after the college closed, archivists at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock were informed about the mural and acquired it. Found in twenty-nine pieces, the fragile and damaged artwork was put into storage in the university’s art collection area until restoration projects began.

In 2018, the restored mural was permanently placed for public view at UA Little Rock Downtown in the River Market district.

For more information about the mural or to schedule a tour of the exhibit, please email or call 501-916-3330.