Virginia Tieman

Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X receive public opinion

In Public on September 12, 2011 at 8:33 am

Whether attending classes, taking a tour, or merely visiting San Francisco State University, one notices something about the vibrant campus. SFSU is home to six murals that all in some way portray a message of equality and the fight toward that equality.

Two important murals displayed at SFSU are those that are placed by the entrance to the Cesar Chavez Student Center in the Malcolm X Plaza.

The first to the left is the Cesar Chavez mural that was dedicated on May 5, 1995. This was after SFSU renamed the once called, San Francisco State University Student Union to the Cesar Chavez Student Center in honor of Chavez.

Right beside the Cesar Chavez mural is painted the Malcolm X mural. This was completed on May 15, 1996 and was the second Malcolm X mural after the first was removed for claims of being “anti-semitic.”

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Many students pass these murals more than once a day and even sit underneath them pondering what message is being made.

“Together they both made an impact in history. With everything that is going on now, the protests, budget cuts and the economy, these murals make us remember the past and to not forget where we came from,” said criminal justice major Anastasia Anadon.

Anadon felt that the main message the murals were trying to portray was that no matter what race, gender, or sexuality a person is, if Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X can succeed, then anyone can as well.

The quote depicted under the Malcolm X mural, “By any means necessary,” reflects his independent thinking and brings Anadon’s thoughts home in regard that Malcolm believed “regardless of status, everyone can speak and act for social change, justice, and freedom for all.”

Anadon’s friend, Linda Duncan, a criminal justice major, feels the quote’s main objective was pointed toward a different point.

“The mural is at a school and that has to mean something. Our tool is education and we have to complete that objective ‘by any means necessary,’” Duncan said.

Duncan said the murals are inspirational being able to see them everyday and that society has become blinded by the incorrect information about history and the public needs to go back and learn.

“Education is freedom, that’s the big picture right there,” said Duncan.

Duncan hit the nail on the head when looking back on Chavez’s political beliefs. To Chavez, education was one of the most important tools of a movement.

When comparing our murals to other university’s, Allison Aguilar, kinesiology major, feels SFSU has a different feel.

“We have diverse murals at our campus and I feel like other campuses don’t showcase murals of this nature. In the end, I think (Malcolm X and Cesar Chavez) would be proud that we have these murals,” said Aguilar.

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  1. Great post! My favorite aspect of the Malcolm X mural is the silhouette of the United States over the continent of Africa, signifying the Pan-Africanism he adopted later in life, and the cause his parents devoted their lives to.

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