San Francisco will keep but cover up George Washington mural

George Washington Mural
The 1936 mural “Life of Washington” at George Washington High School in San Francisco.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

The San Francisco school board will preserve but cover up a public high school mural depicting slavery and the killing of a Native American.

After a public outcry, the board on Tuesday voted 4 to 3 to reverse an earlier vote to paint over the “Life of Washington” mural at George Washington High School.

Instead, the work will be covered with panels depicting what’s termed “the heroism of people of color in America” and their fight against racism.

The 1936 mural depicts the life of George Washington. Sections of the 1,600-square-foot work show the darker side of that history: pioneers standing over a dead Native American and slaves working at Washington’s estate.


The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously this week to cover up a mural at a local high school that depicts black slaves and dead Native Americans in colonial-era scenery.

Opponents called the mural racist and offensive. Supporters said destroying it would be historical and artistic censorship.