Celebrate People's History: Amazon Army

Dave Loewenstein
GVSU Collection
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
December 2014
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
This is a poster that is white, black, and teal. This focuses on a crowd of protestors that are carrying flags. There is teal text on a white background behind them that is mostly covered. There are two paragraphs of text at the bottom that read: “On December 11, 1921, propelled by the need to feed their children and outraged at Kansas’s new anti-labor legislation, a crowd of more than 500 women gathered in Franklin, Kansas and resolved to march in solidarity with miners striking at union District 14 coal mines. The strike was called in response to the new Industrial Court Law signed by Kansas Governor Allen, which forced unions into arbitration and outlawed strikes. On December 12th, the women began their march on the mines, armed only with the American flag, which they carried to make clear that the values it symbolized were synonymous to those of their cause. By December 15th, the march had swelled to more than 4,000 stretching over a mile long. With the mines at a stand still, word spread that the militia was en route, and the women, dubbed the “Amazon Army” by the New York Times, voluntarily chose to end their march in the hopes of preventing bloodshed. Victory for the marchers and their striking coal miners came the following year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the compulsory arbitration clause of the Industrial Court Law was unconstitutional. Workers still had the right to strike.”
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.