These days, it seems as if cowards are competing to become the most racist person in America, and an anonymous criminal just submitted his application.

On Thursday, a popular Black Panther mural located in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles was vandalized when culprits smeared white swastikas over the faces of four prominent civil rights activists. 

"It's a shame because we did this mural for everybody," lamented Enkone Goodly, one of the renowned artists who has worked on the mural for decades.

Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. are all featured on the mural. 

"It's just absolutely a travesty. It's devastating. It is upsetting," Jasmine Cannick, a strategist and political commentator who first informed officials, said in a video posted on Twitter. "And we can't stand for this."

The destruction is also being investigated as a possible hate crime and was first reported around 11:45 a.m. in the area of 48th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard, per Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jeff Lee.

Congressmember Karen Bass, who represents California's 37th District which includes Los Angeles and South Los Angeles, challenged those to reconsider the idea that racism is long gone. Bass was recently elected chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Artist Enkone Goodlow, 45, spoke with CNN affiliate KABC after the incident, revealing that he immediately went to fix the damage made to the mural when he learned racist images had been drawn across the faces of "some of my beloved Black Panthers." 

"I was hurt because that portion of the mural has never been defaced," he informed CNN.

For the four female Black Panther activists, Goodlow said he used an image of former Panther leader Kathleen Cleaver as his muse, which he had ripped from a library book more than two decades ago.

The Black Panther Party was a political organization founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to protest police brutality against the Black community. At its most successful point in 1968, the group boasted nearly 2,000 members.

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