Black leaders support preserving controversial mural

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African American leaders from left, local NAACP President Dr. Amos Brown, columnist Noah Griffin, Rev. Arnold Townsend and artist Dewey Crumbler voice their support for keeping a controversial mural at Washington High School during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in San Francisco. The controversial 13-panel, 1,600-square foot mural, the “Life of Washington,” criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people, is slated to be destroyed after the San Francisco School Board voted last month to paint over it. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A group of prominent African American leaders in San Francisco want to preserve a controversial mural displayed in a public high school that some have criticized as racist.

Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP, on Tuesday called on the school board to reconsider its vote to paint over the mural. He argued that painting over the mural would be like erasing American history.

The mural was created in 1936 and depicts the life of George Washington. It shows pioneers standing over the dead body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington’s estate.

Brown was joined by NAACP Officer Arnold Townsend and Noah Griffin, a jazz singer and alumnus of the high school. Artist Dewey Crumpler, who painted a response piece to the mural, was also present.

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