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'The Mooney Case'

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Posted 7 years ago


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Anton Refregier, a Russian artist, was hired by the U.S. Federal Government in 1941 to paint 27 murals in a post office downtown that told the story of California from its first inhabitants to the present. The murals were finished in 1948 and now reside in the Rincon Center, as the post office is no longer functional.

Below is the description of the 23rd mural, which is shown int he first three pictures above. The entrance to the Rincon Center is in the fourth picture.

23. The Mooney Case: "The Mooney Case involved Thomas Joseph Mooney and Warren Knox Billings. They were accused of planting a bomb in downtown San Francisco on July 22, 1916 during the Preparedness Day parade. Ten people were killed and 40 injured. Both Mooney and Billings were convicted, but because they were radical labor organizers, many citizens believed they had been framed. Irregularities in the trial were later discovered and the controversy continued. The two spent years in prison, but eventually received full pardons."

This mural is a good example of a muralist finding a way to get a leftist, pro-labor viewpoint into a mural, because of the historical significance of this moment. Because these murals were federally funded it was always controversial for artists to take political stands. This can be seen as an exception.

Part of my trip to Rincon Center. For more on New Deal Post Office murals, check out this website:

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