Pinback Button, “Vote the Rascals Out”

Object Details

Late 20th century
metal, plastic, paper
3/8 × 2 5/16 in. (0.9 × 5.8 cm)
Cite As
Ethel Lois Payne Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Avis R. Johnson.
On this yellow pinback button, a line-drawn cartoon depicts a smiling figure wearing a sandwich board that reads “Vote the Rascals Out.” The barefoot figure, the sandwich board’s straps and back placard, and row homes in the background are all rendered in red. Bold, yellow letters glow against the black of the sandwich board’s front placard. Sandwich boards, or large placards worn by a person who walked up and down streets, were a popular advertising method in the nineteenth century, revived during the Great Depression due to their thrift. This retro-style button could refer to ousting city leaders, including the mayor, in Chicago’s 1983-1984 election cycle. It belonged to native Chicagoan Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), who moved to Washington, DC in 1952 to cover national and international news for the preeminent African American newspaper, The Chicago Defender. Known as the First Lady of the Black Press, the journalist collected political buttons over the course of her pioneering career.
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Anacostia Community Museum
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