Posters in Protest
Black Lives Matter

Introduction

In 2019, Poster House opened its first show sourced entirely from the museum’s permanent collection. 

This exhibition, 20/20 InSight: Poster from the 2017 Women’s March was a powerful look at the unique ways Americans protest, as told through the lens of posters collected from the 2017 Women’s March. The march emphasized that protesting is part of American culture and is an essential expression of our constitutional rights.

The posters in the collection span the subjects of Women’s Rights, Climate Change, Immigration, LGBTQ+ Issues, and, of course, #BlackLivesMatter. The incorporated graphics and poster images have been carried through generations of marches, rallies, and grassroots action. Today’s demonstrators also display symbols from poster history, borrowing the power of past ideology while crafting new meanings.

Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five historic protests and some of their posters. These protests date back more than 100 years, their posters indicating that we are still demonstrating for the same struggles today.

#postersinprotest

July 28, 1917: The Negro Silent Protest Parade

Listen

The Silent Protest Parade (Bowery Boys) 39:49

Watch

This Week in Black History: The Silent Parade (Kiss 104 FM) 1:09

Lecture on Urbanization and Migration (Yale University) 42:59

Bloody Island: Race Riots of 1917 (Thomas Gibson) 52:03

Read

Remembering the NAACP Silent Protest Parade (Hyperallergic)

These African-American women helped in World War I (Share America)

Brief History of Black Women in the Military (The Women’s Memorial)

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National Civil Rights Museum

The Ida B Wells Museum

Dec 1, 1955–Dec 20, 1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott

Listen

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt. 1 (Stuff You Missed in History Class) 30:00
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt. 2 (Stuff You Missed in History Class) 25:00

Watch

Montgomery Bus Boycott (PBS Project C) 34:57

Teaching About the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Zinn Ed Project) 15:00

Read

Montgomery Bus Boycott (MLK Institute at Stanford University)

The Truth on Rosa Parks (SPL Center)

Transportation Protests: 1841 to 1992 (Civil Rights Teaching)

Women’s Political Council (WPC) of Montgomery (MLK Institute at Stanford University)

Montgomery Bus Boycott—Facts, Significance & Rosa Parks (History Channel)

Jo Ann Robinson: A Heroine of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (NMAAHC)

Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (Book)

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis (Book)

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Rosa Parks Museum

Aug 28, 1963: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Listen

The March on Washington At 50: The Inspiring Force of  ‘We Shall Overcome’ (NPR) 8:00

How the March on Washington Worked (Stuff You Should Know) 46:00

Watch

March on Washington History (produced by NMAAHC) 18:00

The March by James Blue via The Motion Picture Preservation Lab, 1964 (US National Archives) 33:00 

King Leads the March on Washington (History Channel) 3:00

Read

An Oral History of The March on Washington (The Smithsonian)

Posters for Change: Tear, Paste, Protest (Book)

Voices from the March on Washington by J. Patrick Lewis, George Lyon (Book)

Learn More

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Mar 7–Mar 25, 1965: Marches from Selma to Montgomery

Listen

The story of Bloody Sunday and today’s pilgrimage to Selma (Voices of the Movement | Washington Post) 25:14 

Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March (The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University) 29:41

Watch

John Lewis: The Selma to Montgomery Marches (Time) 5:57

March from Selma to Montgomery (Biography) 4:11

 

Longer Watches

John Lewis: Good Trouble 1:37:09

Selma 2:08:00

Read

Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America (Book)

Oral History of Charles Bonner and Bettie Mae Fikes during Selma (Civil Rights Movement Veterans)

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary (Book) 

Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (Rep. John Lewis Press Release)

Voting Rights (Rep. John Lewis)

March (graphic series): 

Learn More

Black Belt Museum

National Voting Rights Museum and Institute

Feb 12–Apr 16, 1968: Memphis Sanitation Strike

Listen

I Am A Man: Photographer Richard Copley Recalls His First Assignment, 50 Years After the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike (Tales from the Reuther Library) 18:00

We Came Through (StoryCorps) 14:44

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike (Stuff You Missed in History Class) 39:00

Watch

 AM I a Man? (Great Big Story) 6:05

1300 Men: The Memphis Strike ’68 (The Root) 6:30

Read

The Brutal Life of a Sanitation Worker (New York Times) 

How Women Shaped the Sanitation Workers’ Strike in Memphis, Tennessee (Saving Places)

Learn More

For Freedoms

StoryCorps

Facing History

2013–Present Day: Black Lives Matter

Listen

What Matters (Black Lives Matter)

A Decade of Watching Black People Die (Code Switch) 22:37

Black Lives Matter: Five Years On (The Takeaway) 5:25

Watch

In completing Posters in Protest, a conversation emerged between two of Poster House’s educators around visual media being created for the Black Lives Matter movement. This video is a discussion between Maya Varadaraj and Es-pranza Humphrey as they explore shock value, social media, and “memefication” of the people memorialized in the movement.

An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter | Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi (TED) 15:57

Read

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (Book)

We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Book) 

Learn More

We hope you’ve found this chapter of Posters in Protest informative and inspirational. Check back soon for more from this series in the future.