Pinback Button, Harold Washington Mayoral Campaign

Object Details

metal, plastic, paper
1/4 × 2 3/16 in. (0.7 × 5.5 cm)
Cite As
Ethel Lois Payne Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Avis R. Johnson.
This pinback button urges voters to “punch eight” for Harold Washington, the eighth mayoral candidate on the ballot in Chicago’s Democratic primary in October 1982. As its text and colors denote, the button both strives for and celebrates “Black Political Empowerment” embodied in the mayoral candidate, who hailed from the city’s predominantly African American South Side. The red, black, and green hues encircling a black-and-white photo of Washington evoke the Pan-African flag, a symbol of Black liberation, while “Here Come the Mayor!” invokes African American Vernacular English. Washington made history when he was elected the first African American mayor of Chicago in April 1983. The button belonged to journalist Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), a Chicago native who moved to Washington, DC in 1952 to cover national and international news for the preeminent African American newspaper, The Chicago Defender. She followed Washington’s mayoral campaign closely and collected pins that told the story: from grassroots campaign (1991.0076.0144) to victorious celebration (1991.0076.0172) to inauguration day (1991.0076.0170). 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.
Accession Number
See more items in
Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Record ID
Back to Top