Professor Cherny: Controversial Mural Is 'Indictment' of Slavery

Monday, June 24, 2019

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE -- The WSWS recently spoke to Robert Cherny, professor emeritus of History at San Francisco State University, about the campaign to preserve murals about the life of George Washington located at an area high school. The 13 historic frescoes were painted by left-wing Russian émigré artist Victor Arnautoff — a disciple of Diego Rivera — in 1936, during the Great Depression. Arnautoff, a remarkable figure who was later witch-hunted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), painted a number of murals in the San Francisco area.

Professor Cherny has played a leading role in defending Arnautoff’s murals.

“Just the depiction of slavery itself is an indictment of those among the founding fathers who could say that all men are created equal,” Cherny says, “at the same time that they owned other people as chattel property.”