Actor and San Francisco native Danny Glover at a press conference on Tuesday, August 13, condemned a decision made by the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education to remove a mural at his former high school portraying slavery.
The controversial mural at George Washington High School, painted in 1937, shows a series of vignettes of President George Washington’s life, including depictions of slavery and servitude, deceased indigenous persons, and violence, according to reports.
The school board initially decided to paint over the mural, saying it didn’t “represent the school’s values,” according to a report from SFGate. While some groups reportedly argued that the mural was racist, violent, and detrimental to students, others, including actor and alumnus Danny Glover, disagreed with the decision to cover it up.
Glover was reported as saying the mural needed to be preserved as an “uncomfortable reminder” of the realities of history.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Glover said: “Fifty years ago, 20 years ago, we’d never have this discussion right now. Why are we having this discussion now? Why are we talking about boarding it up at this particular point? I think it’s absurd. To board it up? In some sense to hide it from our view? That’s basically what you’re saying.”
“We don’t get enough history in our history books anyway. You can talk about any particular point in time in this history about the forming of this country and everything – it’s never the truth. It’s always the victor’s history, and that’s the history that we’re saying.”
On Tuesday evening, the school board voted not to remove or paint over the existing mural, but to obscure it with different materials, according to a New York Times report. Credit: Jerold Chinn/SFBay.ca via Storyful