California school draws crowd to view mural a few call racist

Aug 5, 2019 by

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Over 100 people packed the lobby of a San Francisco public high school to view a controversial mural criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people.

Officials allowed visitors to see the “Life of Washington” mural for two hours on Thursday after the San Francisco School Board voted in June to paint over the 83-year-old fresco. Since then, there has been much pushback about the decision, including an effort to include a measure on the 2020 ballot to preserve the mural and a protest petition signed by more than 400 academics.

The public viewing opportunity came in response to multiple requests over the past several months, according to Laura Dudnick, spokesperson for the San Francisco Unified School District.

Most of those at the viewing were retirees, with a handful of kids on summer vacation with their relatives. Many were alumni of the school, as well as artists and art historians. Some were local and others came in from towns outside San Francisco to glimpse the much-discussed mural.

The vast majority of visitors were steadfastly against destroying the mural. Multiple people milled about the space, handing out fliers detailing the history of the mural and arguments against its destruction.

Roberta McLaughlin, 78, collected signatures on a poster on which she wrote, “Educate Do Not Eradicate” and said she would present it to the school board in an effort to have the members consider their vote.

The school board is under the “misguided notion that this mural fosters inequality and racism,” she said. “I think this mural does the opposite . It shows us how racism is so embedded in our country’s history.”

Clelia Donovan, 55, is a lecturer in Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley and brought her 13-year-old daughter, Donatella, to see the mural.

Source: California school draws crowd to view mural some call racist | WTOP

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