Presented by the Department of History
“Town Destroyer,” is a film about a controversy over a Depression-era WPA mural, “The Life of Washington,” in a San Francisco public high school, which depicts--among other images--a dead Native American and enslaved people. The mural was painted by Victor Arnautoff, a Communist artist, and is, in fact, a critique of American founding mythology. Yet in a contemporary setting, Native American, Black, and some white students and parents protested the mural as offensive and dehumanizing. It sparked heated controversy in the San Francisco school board, the community, and among scholars. Directors Deborah Kauffman and Alan Snitow join for a viewing of the film as well as a discussion/Q&A after.
Cosponsored by the Education, Culture, and Society Program in Penn's Graduate School of Education, and the Wolf Humanities Center.