San Francisco School Board Votes to Cover George Washington Mural

Maria Perez SAVE THIS

A panel of the “Life of Washington” mural (GWHS Alumni Association/Facebook).

A school board in San Francisco has unanimously voted to cover several murals at a high school because of its images of slavery and an image depicting a dead Native American. 

On June 25, the San Francisco school board voted to cover the 13-panel mural at George Washington High School, which was painted in 1936 by artist Victor Arnatouff, The Washington Post reported.

The mural, which is titled the “Life of Washington,” depicts the sale of enslaved people and elsewhere shows enslaved people laboring at George Washington’s home, The Los Angeles Times reported. There is also a body of a dead Native American surrounded by white settlers, with Washington pointing to the white men, according to the publication. The school board’s vice president, Mark Sanchez, told The Washington Post that the mural is “degrading.”

“It’s always an issue when…

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  • dax1970

    Hello Maria. I find, anytime I see a headline on the northstar that piques my interest enough to read the full story, I see that it is written by you. I’m a disabled, gay, black man in living in Oakland and was unfamiliar with the story. So thanks for the info.

    My first reaction was, that it was a no brainer that they should cover the mural, however after reading the quotes from the petition, I actually changed my view. I feel that the murals should stay, BUT only if it is a mandatory teaching tool. Students of color, in particular, should not have to be exposed to the mural on a daily basis. I feel that the mural can be covered, for example, with a curtain or some other type of partition that is easily removed by faculty, for when they want to expose students to the mural for educational purposes only.

  • nancytien

    I see your point and understand your change of heart and I still don’t think those murals need to stay at the high school. They can serve an educational purpose elsewhere — murals in schools should highlight the culture and achievements of the students.

  • Robert Guy

    Interesting views though I think, lack leadership and elements of academic prowess. I believe an educational environment should not be limited to what makes students feel comfortable at the sake of honest reality and artistic expression. Here we have an artist and an immigrant’s view and artistic expression of our country in 1936. You would cover it to preserve what? The touchy feely wants and desires of spoiled children and over sensitive minorities.
    Kinda sad.

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