Celebrate People's History: Sequoyah and the Cherokee Writing System

Artwork
Identifier:
2020.23.33
Artist:
SpeakEasy Press
Credit:
GVSU Collection
Medium:
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
Date:
December 2008
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
Description:
Poster is titled “Sequoyah and the Cherokee Writing System." A poster on with a light tan background and black and pink text. There is a sketch outline of a woman in the center. Test reads: “In 1821 Sequoyah completed the development of a Cherokee writing system. Each character represents a syllable, instead of one sound as when one writes English, so it’s called a syllabary. There are eighty-five characters in the writing system and these were cast into metal for printing. A Cherokee dictionary was produced in the mid-1970s, one hundred and fifty years after the first editors and printers of the Cherokee Phoenix came to New Echota to print the first Native American newspaper. Some say Sequoyah was illiterate, but how can you be illiterate if you’re the person who developed your own system of writing? Some say the writing system, or portions of it, may have existed even before Sequoyah.”
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.