Labor Posters with a Message of Equality

As part of our month-long celebration of Black History Month, we broke open the stacks and searched for unusual books that showcase African American history. With our focus on labor history, through our imprint ILR Press, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that we have a book of classic labor posters. Still, it’s gratifying and energizing to look through and discover posters within this book that broach subjects of race discrimination, hate crimes, and African American organized labor.

Here’s a small selection of these posters from the pages of Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters by Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher.

“National conference: Black Workers Congress.” Artist unknown, Black Workers Congress, 1971.
“Labor supports sit-ins!” Bill Seaman, publisher unknown; cartoon form Jewish Labor Committee. “We share the dream” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King). Avery Clayton, SEIU, 1979. “Build diverse leadership.) Artist unknown, SEIU Western Region, 2000.
[Left page] “You can’t win: Don’t be a sucker.” Artist unknown, UAW-CIO Fair Practices and Anti-Discrimination Department, circa 1946. “Equal work, equal pay, equal rights.” Tanenbaum, UAW, circa 1960. [Right page] “If his right to work is taken away . . . you’re next!” George Kanelous, National CIO Committee to Abolish Discrimination, 1942-1949. “Stop discrimination in employment” Democratize Yellow Cab.” Frank Rowe, National Negro Labor Council, circa 1953.
“Knock him out! Labor can do it.” Bill Seaman, National Labor Service (American Jewish Committee); CIO Committee to Abolish Racial Discrimination, 1945.
“Protect yourself from this menace.” Artist unknown, IWW, circa 1921.
Labor Posters with a Message of Equality