Art Exhibit in the Gallery

                                                                  Black Leaders

Historically, posters were used by leaders or movements to educate and win support of people who were perhaps illiterate. Some of these posters represent powerful expressions by various poster artists. Others represent the viewpoint of states and political groups motivated by ideology. In a number of countries, posters are used regularly and extensively to convey ideas as well as to generate support for candidates for election. Posters are also an inexpensive way for a group to communicate a simple message. Frequently, posters are created for use for a very brief period and then are discarded and lost forever. It is unfortunate that many posters have suffered that fate. Posters can create a historical reference for a people, a movement or a society. Posters can be a very beautiful form of propaganda.

This exhibit is a tribute to black leaders who rose to prominence and/or leadership positions, often in spite of discrimination, repression, and state sponsored disinformation campaigns. Some were assassinated because of their work on behalf of others. Space does not allow for detailed descriptions of their lives, but interested people are encouraged to read books that have been published about many of them, or to view films that were produced about some of them.

Included in this exhibit are Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Paul Robeson, Angela Davis, Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Bishop, Graca Machel, Wangari Maathai, Jesse Jackson, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Amilcar Cabral, Carl Hampton, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglas.

Other Black leaders were those involved in the struggle for Civil Rights in this country. Some do not have the widespread recognition like others, but they risked their lives and fought just as hard for justice.

The posters are from a collection of more than 6000 of Stephen Lewis. He is a long-time activist in the labor movement, and the former Treasurer of his union. Stephen has exhibited at a number of public libraries in Massachusetts and two of the state Heritage parks. He has presented at the annual conference of the National Council on Public History, and some cable television programs. He can be reached by email at Poster exhibit announcements can be viewed on Facebook at labor/progressive political posters. The posters/photos were contributed by friends, collected at conferences, visits to some of the organizations, and from connections made through the internet. The Syracuse Cultural Workers contributed some of the posters in this exhibit.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Westwood Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency,and by Laborers Local, Carpenters District Council, and Asbestos Workers Local 6.