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Campaign to defend historic, Depression-era “Life of Washington” murals in San Francisco
by WSWS repost
Monday Jun 24th, 2019 10:47 AM
Robert Cherny, professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University explains why controversial frescoes at Washington High School in the Richmond District should not be destroyed or hidden.
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Campaign to defend historic, Depression-era “Life of Washington” murals in San Francisco

A special report from the World Socialist Web Site
24 June 2019

The WSWS recently spoke to Robert Cherny, professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University, about the campaign to preserve murals about the life of George Washington located at an area high school. The 13 historic frescoes were painted by left-wing Russian émigré artist Victor Arnautoff—a disciple of Diego Rivera—in 1936, during the Great Depression. Arnautoff, a remarkable figure who was later witch-hunted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), painted a number of murals in the San Francisco area.

The work at the center of the current controversy depicts Washington as both a revolutionary war hero and a slaveholder. It points to the fact that America's Westward expansion came at the expense of the Native American population. Opponents of the murals claim the work “glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression.” Professor Cherny has played a leading role in defending Arnautoff's murals.


by confetti
Monday Jun 24th, 2019 11:27 AM
Two things one can do now:

Sign a petition: Preserve Victor Arnautoff's mural in George Washington High School.

Also, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet, there will be a protest before the San Francisco Unified School District meeting tomorrow at 5 PM. The meeting is supposed to start at 6 PM.
by Our History Must Be No Mystery
Tuesday Jun 25th, 2019 5:19 AM
Many thanks to assistant public defender Matt Gonzalez, former president of the Board of Supervisors, for his support of these beloved murals, a San Francisco treasure, dated 6/24/19, at
https://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/dont-whitewash-history/

His plea to the opponents says it all:
"Today, opponents of the mural appear largely indifferent to what the offending images actually represent, preferring to view the images out of context as if they only depict slaves and a dead Indian. But wouldn’t it be more offensive had Arnautoff left out the history of slavery and the genocide of native peoples from his mural? Would these opponents of the mural prefer a sanitized depiction of history that omits the oppression of their ancestors?"

Today, June 25, 2019, the school board is scheduled to vote on whether to preserve the murals or destroy them or cover them. If they vote against telling truth to power about our history by destroying or covering the murals, the Washington High School Alumni Association will obtain an injunction, which hopefully will become permanent, and given that they are obviously a group of well-organized voters, we can be sure they will run candidates for school board to put an end to this insulting attack on culture and education that should never have occurred.

Many thanks to the person who posted the Russian-Americans' petition to save the murals. Signing it is something we can all do.

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