Opinionated We Stand

A collection from SJSU’s archive shows what united and divided an era.

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Wearing our support for political candidates has been a tradition for centuries. Even the George Washington presidential campaign donned buttons. Later, these small, personal billboards became a popular way to stand up for the hot button issues of our time.

Local journalist and community activist Diane Solomon, ’76 Social Science, ’82 Business, donated a button collection that represents many of the social, environmental and political movements championed by San Jose State students during the 1960s and 1970s. They carry the slogans, demands and pleas of the Civil Rights Movement; the anti-Vietnam War movement; the war on poverty; immigrant, farm labor and gay rights; pro feminism and women’s rights and the San Francisco Bay Area’s counter culture. Their graphics and the images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Seal, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Malcolm X, Richard Nixon and Cesar Chavez illustrate this time of unrest and change.

What will the political buttons of today illuminate for future generations?

Tell us what you think. To view the Diane Solomon Civil Rights and Viet Nam War Era Button Collection, visit Special Collections and Archives on the fifth floor of San Jose State’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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