People’s Wall

A documentary about the mural "Our History Is No Mystery," painted on the wall of John Adams Community College in San Francisco in 1976.

00:34Copy video clip URL Title. A band plays on top of the mural “Our History Is No Mystery.” A montage of people in the neighborhood. 

01:43Copy video clip URL A woman speaks to the crowd, noting that it is May 19, the birthday of Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh. She says that “the mural isn’t just about people who are well known. The mural’s, like, about all the people, all the everyday people who really make history and who are building our future. You know, like, history isn’t just about presidents and rich men and kings. It’s really all the everyday people who work to build everything. And the mural’s about the creative energy that we all have in our hands, in our minds. It’s about the sweat and blood that our mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers and all the people who work have put out. It’s about the joy and power of all the cultures of all the peoples. And it’s about all the struggles against oppression.”

03:00Copy video clip URL One of the muralists describes the origins of the wall and their aims in the work. Discussion of the inspiration found in the murals of Mexico City. 

05:21Copy video clip URL Murals breaking down the mystique of art making. Showing everybody the process of making art and bringing art outside, to the people, rather than keeping it in a museum.

07:20Copy video clip URL Developing forms of leadership for a collective artwork that aren’t overpowering or dominating. 

08:28Copy video clip URL Murals as “a creative reflection of reality.” A kind of realism that isn’t literal but which connects to real life for the people. 

09:27Copy video clip URL Voiceover: “This mural is a people’s history.” The voiceover follows the mural’s chronological history of the San Francisco and the United States more broadly that focuses on the experience of the people who live there, beginning with the indigenous communities that were killed and displaced by European settlers. 

12:20Copy video clip URL The United States’ military intervention in the 20th century. The history of San Francisco fighting for justice and peace. 

14:18Copy video clip URL Racism in America and in San Francisco, beginning with the treatment of Chinese immigrants in the 1800s. Continued persecution and inequality for Asian/Asian-American communities throughout the 20th century and persisting to the current day.

16:10Copy video clip URL The United Farm Workers Union and the struggle for justice for workers in the fields. 

17:00Copy video clip URL George Jackson’s militant activism for equality, which led to his murder. 

18:40Copy video clip URL A local news report about vandalism damaging the mural, focusing on the areas depicting black civil rights leaders. Followed up by the community’s response, with large groups of people from the neighborhood aiding in the repair and restoration of the mural. 

21:55Copy video clip URL In voiceover, an assertion of the principles of the organization behind the mural and the need to build a new society that is just, peaceful, and inclusive. 

23:06Copy video clip URL End of video. 



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