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Buttons 13

Buttons 13 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


The District of Columbia has a population of over 600,000 people. It has only been since 1964 that district residents have been allowed to vote in Presidential elections. The American revolutionary term, "taxation without representation" appears on District license plates. The Free DC! button depicted here refers to the fact that the city of Washington, D.C. still has no representation in the United States Senate, and only one non-voting member in the House of Representatives.

Darfur is a region within Africa's western Sudan. Since 2003 ethnic and tribal conflicts have resulted in almost 400,000 deaths and over 2,000,000 refugees. Armed rebels, para-military forces, and government policies, as well as drought, over population, and the destruction of entire villages have all characterized this tragedy. On April 30, 2006 tens of thousands of people attended a Washington D.C. Rally to Stop Genocide. The conflict continues.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) had been a long-time fighter against apartheid in South Africa and a leader within the African National Congress political party. Though he initially believed in non-violence, the many years of failure with this approach moved him toward a more aggressive stance including sabotage against military targets and possible armed resistance. Mandela was arrested in 1962, and additional charges followed resulting in 27 years of imprisonment. Mandela became an international symbol of freedom. Upon his release from prison in 1990 he promoted reconciliation, a multi-racial South African democracy, won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993, and served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. In 1990 Nelson Mandela conducted an eleven-day, eight-city Freedom Tour of America. In Detroit, Michigan more than 70,000 people turned out to greet him. Mandela noted that it was the music of Motown that in large part inspired him during his 27 years of imprisonment.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson (1941- ) has long been involved in the civil rights movement and was very early on associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The button depicted here is from "Operation PUSH", a Chicago based organization founded in 1971 by Jackson and which stands for, "People United to Serve Humanity". The primary goals of Operation PUSH were to seek social justice for black Americans, create business opportunities, and work with major companies to hire blacks. Operation PUSH would, by 1996, be merged into another of Jackson's organizations, this being the National Rainbow Coalition which was more politically oriented and had been established in 1984. They are now known as the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Also politically active, Jackson ran for President in 1984 and again in 1988.

The "Free South Africa", drawn by the artist Irving Fierstein, draws attention to two South African political organizations. The first of these, the African National Congress (ANC) dates back to the early 1900s as an organization that struggled to secure rights for black South Africans. It became known as the ANC in 1923 and moved toward a more liberation and resistance orientation in the early 1960s. It is considered "South Africa's National Liberation Movement" party and has been the democratically elected ruling party in South Africa since majority rule in 1994. The South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) was founded in 1960 and also served as a liberation movement, this one in Namibia. Following Namibia's independence from South Africa and the country's first independent election in 1989, SWAPO has remained the dominant political party in the country.

It was known as the children's war. Nigeria had gained its independence from Britain in 1960. Comprised of various ethnic groups and associated tensions, by 1967 Nigeria was confronted by a secessionist movement within its southern state known as Biafra. Over 100,000 military casualties, almost 3 million refugees, and anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million civilian deaths, mostly from starvation, resulted during the civil war which followed and lasted until 1970 with the defeat of the Biafran rebels.

Howard University was officially established in 1867. It is named for Civil War General Oliver O. Howard (1830-1909). Howard is considered to be the founder of the university, served as president from 1869 to 1874, and also served as commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau which provided much of the university's early financial support.
The Freedmen's Bureau was established in 1865 by Congress and had as its overall goal the implementation of policies that would help former slaves transition to free citizens. Health care, efforts toward the reunifications of families, food, refugee camps, clothing, and education were among the Bureau's programs. The Bureau remained in existence until 1872.


Buttons from the collection of Albert and Angela Feldstein

Text from over forty years of notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, flyers, and other sources associated with the collecting of buttons and used in the research of the 2003 political history poster entitled, "Buttons of the Cause, 1960-2003: The Events, The People, The Organizations, The Issues"

Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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