As a student at Berkeley in the early 1960s, Michael Rossman (1939-2008) was a tireless activist, renowned for his part in organizing the Free Speech Movement. Rossman later taught science, wrote books and collected posters created by the vital social and political movements sweeping the nation since 1965. By the end of his life he’d amassed nearly 25,000 posters, on themes ranging from “Be-ins” to Black Power: an extraordinary window onto America’s grass-roots democratic discourse.
An exhibition of 68 posters drawn from Rossman’s collection—“All of Us or None”—is now at the Oakland Museum of California (an additional 1,273 may be viewed online). Here are a dozen highlights, all pre-1980.