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Pinback Button, “Democratic Unity,” Democratic National Convention

Object Details

metal, plastic, paper
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 calls for “unity” as it depicts the Democratic Party’s potential presidential nominees riding on one of San Francisco’s iconic streetcars. At the party’s 1984 convention in San Francisco, Walter Mondale would edge out Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart for the nomination. The button belonged to journalist Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), a Chicago native who moved to the nation’s capital in 1952 to cover national and international news for the preeminent African American newspaper, The Chicago Defender. She collected memorabilia related to Jesse Jackson’s historic campaign, in which he became the second African American to run nationally for a major party’s nomination in a presidential primary. Payne, a lifelong civil rights activist, reported from thirty countries over the course of her own pioneering career, becoming known as the First Lady of the Black Press.
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