Post-recall S.F. school board rescinds vote to cover controversial Washington High mural

Jill Tucker:

The San Francisco school board voted Wednesday to nullify a previous board decision to cover up a controversial mural at Washington High School. The move followed nearly three years of legal battles, debate and controversy.

In a 4-3 vote, the board followed a judge’s order to vacate their previous decision to cover the historic fresco, which features the life of George Washington and includes images of slavery and white settlers stepping over a dead Native American.

The original controversy over covering the mural, which grabbed international headlines, pitted the issue of racial equity against artistic freedom and historic preservation at a time of reflection over race and reparations for historic atrocities and public displays associated with America’s ugly past.

The board majority initially voted to paint over the mural in 2019 before reversing course and deciding to cover it up with curtains or panels. That decision was challenged in court and the district lost. The district then appealed, but later decided to settle the case and abide by the judge’s ruling.