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Activism through Historical Posters

13 June 2022 - 10:09am by Melissa Grafe

Screen print style picture of Ronald Reagan with pink eyes and the words "AIDSGATE" written over his face"Come visit the newest exhibition featured in the Medical Library’s Hallway space! Highlighted on the walls of our newest exhibition are posters reflecting activism on behalf of women, children, and the HIV/AIDS community, dating from 1970-1998. These posters provide snapshots of larger efforts by activists to challenge the status quo and promote the welfare of people who needed action from government and industry groups. The Historical Library houses over 2,000 posters reflecting the history of medicine and health broadly, including materials related to activism and social movements.

Featured posters include AIDSGATE, 1987, from the Silence = Death Project, criticizing President Ronald Reagan’s lackluster response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that roared through America and the world in the 1980s.

Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot, 1970, created by Mary Ann Lupa, was used in support of the Women’s Strike for Equality, a nationwide demonstration marking the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Lupa was Chicago’s National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter president and one of the organizers of the Women’s Strike for Equality in Chicago.