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The Anacostia Community Museum’s indoor gallery will be closed March 2 through May 18 as we bring our next exhibition to life. Even though our gallery is closed, join us at any of the dynamic upcoming events planned during this time. More information about our events is available at: We look forward to seeing you soon!

Pinback Button Worn By Ethel L. Payne

Object Details

paper, plastic, metal
5/16 × 2 15/16 in. (0.8 × 7.5 cm)
Cite As
Ethel Lois Payne Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Avis R. Johnson.
This pinback button belonged to Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), who covered the AFL-CIO’s merger in 1955 as a reporter before joining its staff in 1958. Hands clasped across a map symbolize the alliance between the two major labor unions. The blue-and-white button emphasizes “Jobs for All” as a theme of the AFL-CIO’s Conference on Unemployment, held April 8, 1959 in Washington, DC. Jobs and civil rights continued to be intertwined during Payne’s tenure as the first African American employee of the labor union’s Committee on Political Education (COPE). The conference’s agenda resurfaced, for example, in the full title and purpose of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. A longtime Washington, DC resident and political reporter, Payne became known as First Lady of the Black Press for her pioneering journalism career.
Accession Number
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
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