John Lewis

‘Premeditated Act of Hate': Mural of Late Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Defaced in Cambridge

A mural depicting the late Rep. John Lewis outside of Urban Hearth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was vandalized with paint

NBC Universal, Inc.

A mural in Cambridge, Massachusetts, honoring a late congressman and civil rights icon, was vandalized this week.

The mural of Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who died in July, on the side of Urban Hearth, was defaced with paint late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, according to police.

Running a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic has been wearing owner Erin Miller down.

"We're just trying to get by. We have Thanksgiving coming up. We're struggling to get that done on a limited staff," she said. "Dealing with this is a real blow."

Miller says her restaurant is a place for people to talk around the table. After Lewis' death, she wanted his memory painted there. She commissioned a local artist, Rocky Cotard, to create it.

"Super honored to be the artist to kind of render this piece, and I think it being John Lewis really adds to that," Cotard said in October.

Miller left a note on the mural telling people "DO NOT TURN AWAY" and "LOOK HARD AT IT," calling the vandalism a "premeditated act of hate."

"They're covering up the words and the faces, and that doesn't seem arbitrary to me," Miller said.

Police say they're looking to see if anyone recorded the tagger on camera.

This weekend, Cotard is visiting to figure out how the damage can be repaired. The goal is to move it in the next few months to a new home.

Contact Us