San Francisco to paint over debated George Washington mural

Jul 4, 2019 by

Image result for Native American at George Washington High School photos
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco will spend up to $600,000 to paint over historical artwork at a public school depicting the life of George Washington, a mural once seen as educational and innovative but now criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people.

The “Life of Washington” was painted by Victor Arnautoff, one of the foremost muralists in the San Francisco area during the Depression. The San Francisco School Board’s decision to paint over the 83-year-old mural is prompting some to worry that other artwork from the so-called New Deal era could face a similar fate because of changing sensitivities.

In addition to depicting Washington as a soldier, surveyor, statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, the 13-panel, 1,600-sqaure foot mural at George Washington High School contains images of white pioneers standing over the body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.

The board’s decision last week comes at a time when the legacies of Washington and other historical figures who owned slaves are being re-examined. Some cities have changed the names of streets and buildings named after slave owners.

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