Pinback Button, Jesse Jackson Presidential 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 supported Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s historic run for president in 1983-1984. “Jesse’s Coalition” united voters behind his presidential bid, which became the second national campaign by an African American for a major party’s nomination. The button’s colorful arch refers to Jackson’s vision for a “rainbow coalition” of diverse, multiracial voters advocating for equal rights for all Americans. After his renowned “Rainbow Coalition” speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Jackson founded the National Rainbow Coalition in Washington, DC. The button belonged to journalist Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), who moved from her native Chicago to the nation’s capital in 1952 to cover national and international news for the preeminent African American newspaper, The Chicago Defender. Payne collected memorabilia from her fellow Chicagoan’s grassroots campaign. The 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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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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