Celebrate People's History: Vieques Libre
Medium:2 Color Offset Printed Poster
A red, white, and blue poster that has an organization building on it with words on the side, people in front of it and flags to the right. Below the house on the white background in red text says: “In 1941, the US Navy expropriated 75% of the island of Vieques. The residents were forced to live in a narrow swath of land white the rest was turned into a bombing range. For the next six decades, the Navy launched bombs from ships, dropped napalm from planes, fired depleted uranium shells, staged mock invasions on the beaches and rented out the island to arms manufacturers to test their munitions. On April 19, 1999, that all changed when the US Navy dropped a 500 ob bomb on David Sanes, a Vieques resident who worked on the base, killing him instantly. The next day a group of activists entered the restricted zone as an act of remembrance and resistance. One of them, Tito Kayak, spent the night camped out on the naval base. Two days later, 15 boats of protesters returned and built Campamento Monte David, the first of what would be 14 encampments which shut down the base. Their dislodgment by the Navy launched a campaign of civil disobedience in which over 1,000 were arrested and the largest political demonstration in the history of Puerto Rico. The Navy closed the base in 2003, but the residents are still fighting to have their island fully cleaned of the Navy’s toxic remains.”
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.