Celebrate People's History: Compton's Cafeteria Riot

Andre Perez
GVSU Collection
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
August 2018
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
This is a white, purple, blue poster where there is a woman shouting on the left side of the image and silhouettes of people in the background. There are buildings behind them and the title is at the top, "Compton's Cafeteria Riot". There is a paragraph at the bottom of the image, the text reads: “Transwomen and drag queens working in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco often took refuge in Gene Compton’s, an after-hour cafeteria. They would buy coffee and stay for hours, temporarily escaping the troubles of the street. The owner began harassing them with discriminatory policies, so the queens formed an organization they named Vanguard to fight for their rights to use Compton’s. On a hot summer evening after as unsuccessful picket of the cafeteria, the owner called the police to evict the queens—they fought back, leading to a street riot.”
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.