Celebrate People's History: John Brown

Artwork
Identifier:
2020.23.3
Artist:
Josh MacPhee
Credit:
GVSU Collection
Medium:
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
Date:
May 1999
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 16.5" Width: 9.75"
Description:
A black and white depiction of John Brown in front of red flames. The text is in black at the top of the image above his head. His name and life dates are at the bottom of the image in red in front of his chest. Text reads: “It was his [John Brown’s] peculiar doctrine that a man has a perfect right to interfere by force with the slaveholder, in order to rescue the slave. I agree with him. They who are continually shocked by slavery have some right to be shocked by the violent death of the slaveholder, but such will be more shocked by his life than by his death. I shall not be forward to think him mistaken in his method who quickest succeeds to liberate the slave.”—Henry David Thoreau
Historical Context:
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced political propaganda. These posters embody democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of the past. Unlike most political posters, the posters part of the Celebrate People’s History series tell the stories of the underdogs, those individuals and groups helping to move forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more just world. For 20 years, over 130 different posters have been displayed on the streets of over a dozen cities representing over 150 artists and writers. The Celebrate People’s History Poster Series has been organized and curated by Josh MacPhee since 1998.

Library of Congress Subjects:
History
Social movements
Social justice