How Posters Helped Shape America and Change the World- page 6 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
(Pam Valois, Don't Call Me Sweetheart: A Poster Exhibition of Women's Images and Issues, 1978. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California, All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of The Rossman Family)

How Posters Helped Shape America and Change the World

One enthusiast's collection, on exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California, offers a sweeping look at grass-roots movements since the 1960s

Anti-Draft Week / Mark Morris, artist / 1970 / 2010.54.57

Anti Draft Week
(Mark Morris, The Philadelphia Resistance Press, Anti-Draft Week: March 16-22, 1970. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California, All Of Us Or None Archive. Gift of The Rossman Family)
Cushing compares the process of selecting the posters for All of Us or None to “sipping water from a fire hose.” A significant part of Rossman’s enormous collection addressed one of America’s deepest fault lines: the Vietnam War and the related bombings of Cambodia and Laos. The year this poster was printed, more than 6,000 Americans—and some 25,000 Vietnamese—died in the conflict. “Until 1968,” notes Cushing, “even Martin Luther King Jr. avoided condemning the Vietnam War. It was when he saw images of the victims of napalm that he decided he had to take a stand. One of the tools a graphic artist uses to undermine the arguments for the war is to show victims like villagers and children. If you want to pull out all the stops, showing the human cost of the war is a very good tool.”

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