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Buttons 15

Buttons 15 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Andrew Young (1932 - ), is a Democrat, civil rights activist, diplomat, and politician. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia in 1972 and served in Congress from 1973 through 1977. Young was then appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter and served in that capacity from 1977 to 1979. In 1981 he was elected Mayor of Atlanta Georgia and held that office from 1982 through 1990. He failed in his bid for Governor of Georgia in 1990. Andrew Young is the first African-American to serve as our nation's Ambassador to the United Nations. The two buttons portrayed on this page represent his campaigns for Congress and Mayor.

Edward William Brooke, III ((1919-2015), a Republican, is the first African-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote. Elected by the voters of Massachusetts in 1966 he served in the Senate from 1967 to 1979. Prior to that time he had been elected in 1962 to the office of Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and had been reelected to that position in 1964. Brooke was considered a liberal Republican and a supporter of women's rights and Title IX legislation. He fought for affordable housing, fought against housing discrimination, coauthored the 1968 Fair Housing Act and worked to maintain the Job Corps and other Great Society Programs from the era of President Lyndon Johnson. In 1973 he became the first Republican to call for the resignation of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate controversy.

David Dinkins (1927 - ), a Democrat was elected Mayor of New York City in 1989 and served through 1993. It was in that year he lost to the Republican, Rudy Giuliani. Prior to his election as Mayor, Dinkins had served as a member of the New York State Legislature from 1965 to 1967. Dinkins was the first and remains the only African-American to be elected to the Office of Mayor for New York City. The 1993 campaign button here depicts the "Big Apple", a symbol representing New York.

Tom Bradley (1917 - 1998), a Democrat, served as Mayor of Los Angeles for five terms (20 years) from 1973 to 1993. In 1982 he ran for Governor of California and with polls showing him almost 10-points in the lead over his white challenger he was felt to be the favorite. He unexpectedly lost and one explanation was that it was due to "closet racism", or the fact that when it came time to actually vote white people would not pull the lever for an African-American. This phenomenon, true or not, has since become known as the "Bradley Effect". Tom Bradley was the first and remains the only African-American to serve as Mayor of Los Angeles and served as Mayor of Los Angeles longer than anyone else. He was the second African-American to be elected Mayor of a major American city, with Carl Stokes of Cleveland being the first in 1967.

John Lewis (1940 - ) is a son of sharecroppers who in 1986 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia and has served in that capacity since 1987. From 1981, he served on the Atlanta City Council. He is considered one of the Civil Rights Movement's most legendary and courageous leaders. As Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966, Lewis organized student sit-ins throughout the South. In 1963 he was recognized as one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and was a keynote speaker at the historic August 1963 March on Washington. In 1964 he coordinated SNCC voter registration drives during what become known as Mississippi Freedom Summer. And in 1965, John Lewis helped lead and was among the more than 600 marchers who were attacked and beaten by state troopers during a peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to support voting rights. This event became known as "Bloody Sunday" and helped lay the groundwork for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950) was an African-American physician who is noted for his pioneering medical research in the field of blood preservation and transfusion. His work in the area of blood storage proved critical during World War II and resulted in his appointment as director of not only the "Blood for Britain" project, but also as the first Director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank in 1941. It was at that time he argued that there was no scientific basis for African-American blood to be excluded from use. Drew resigned from his official positions in 1942 after it was determined African-American blood would be accepted, but stored separately from whites.

Born in Washington, D.C., Drew attended Amherst College in Massachusetts and prior to entering the McGill University School of Medicine in Canada, taught biology and served as a coach at Morgan State College (now University) in Baltimore, Maryland. The "CDU" pin depicted here is from the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science which is located in Los Angeles, California. Established in 1966, this private medical school was founded in large part as a result of the 1965 Watts riots and the lack of medical services in the Watts area. Its purpose is to train physicians and other medical professionals who seek to work in urban environments.

Robert F. Wagner (1910-1991) was a white man who served as the Democratic Mayor of New York City from 1954 to 1965. He was considered a liberal and among other accomplishments banned housing discrimination on the basis of race and was the first mayor who worked to bring more African-Americans into city government. It was also during his administration that significant racial unrest and protest took place. The most significant of these occurred in February 1964, when nearly a half-million school children were kept out of the New York City public schools during a one-day boycott to force the city's Board of Education to come up with a plan and time-table for school integration. The "Wagner No! - CORE" button shown here is from 1963, and pertains to a series of sit-ins at the Mayor's office and demonstrations held throughout the city at various construction sites to protest discriminatory hiring practices on city sponsored construction projects. Along with other groups, the effort was led by the Brooklyn Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Carol Moseley Braun (1947 - ) a Democrat, is the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. In addition, she was also the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois, regardless of color. Carol Moseley Braun was elected in 1992, and served Illinois in the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was later appointed Ambassador to New Zealand by President Bill Clinton and served in that position from 1999 to 2001. In 2003 she briefly sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination but eventually withdrew from the race. The button portrayed here was sponsored by the National Women's Political Caucus.

Julius W. Hobson (1922-1977) is the 1971 founder of the D.C. Statehood Party, and it was also in that year he ran as the D.C. Statehood Party's candidate to serve as D.C.’s non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. He lost to Walter Fauntroy (1933 - ). The D.C. Statehood Party seeks to make the District of Columbia a state, thereby giving its citizens full control over local affairs and full voting representation in the U.S. Congress. Hobson was also Dr. Benjamin Spock's (1903-1998) People's Party Vice-Presidential running mate in the 1972 election. They received 0.1014% of the popular vote. (Additional buttons pertaining to African-American candidates for president may be found at our website entitled, "Presidential and Maryland Gubernatorial and Senatorial Campaign Buttons" at Presidential Campaign buttons.)

The National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) was organized in the 1960s to push back against the increasing efforts being made not only to cut funding allocated to welfare recipients, but also stiffen the eligibility requirements for assistance. Although African-American women comprised a minority of those receiving welfare assistance, they were seen by much of the nation as the primary beneficiaries. Between the years 1966 to 1975 the NWRO organized numerous demonstrations advocating welfare rights and an adequate income. Its membership was comprised of mostly African-American women. The button portrayed here, from the early 1970s, "demands" annual payment assistant in the amount of $6500.

Sharon Pratt Dixon (1944- ) is a Democrat who is now known as Sharon Pratt Kelly. She is the third person to serve as mayor of Washington D.C. and is the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major American city. Sharon Pratt Dixon was elected mayor of the District of Columbia in 1990 and served in that office from 1991 to 1995.

The Reverend Al (Alfred) Sharpton (1954 - ), addition to his various campaigns for the U.S. Senate and Presidency as noted elsewhere on this site, has also run for Mayor of New York City. The button portrayed here, "Latinos Para Sharpton" is from his unsuccessful 1997 mayoralty campaign.

Marion Barry (1936-2014) was the son of a sharecropper and the second person to be elected Mayor of Washington, D.C. He served twice in this position, first from 1979 to 1991, and again from 1995 through 1999. It was in 1990 that he was arrested on a drug charge that prevented him from seeking reelection that year, and which also resulted in a six-month prison term. Barry was then elected to the city council in 1992, and in 1994 won election as mayor. In 2004, Marion Barry again sought and won election to the city council and continued to serve on the council until the time of his death. It is interesting to note that Barry was also the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) upon that organization's founding in 1960. The button displayed here is from his successful 1986 reelection campaign for mayor.

Colin L. Powell (1937- ), a Republican, served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton from 1989 to 1993. Prior to that time he had served as President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor. It was under President George W. Bush that Colin Luther Powell served his country as the Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. As the button portrayed here indicates, many had encouraged Powell to seek the Republican Presidential nomination in 1996. He declined the overtures and did not seek the candidacy. Colin Powell was the first, and remains the only African-American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Stevie Wonder (1950 - ) is not only one of America's most beloved entertainers, but was also instrumental in having Martin Luther King's birthday (January 15th) established as a National Holiday. In 1980 Stevie Wonder released a hit song entitled, "Happy Birthday", which urged a holiday in King's honor and became a focal point for this effort. A year later Wonder would fund the lobbying efforts, office, and Washington D.C. staff to work on this effort. In 1982 Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), the widow of Martin Luther King and Stevie Wonder presented a petition with over 6 million signatures to Congress supporting this national holiday. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. The button displayed here is from a 1981 march in Washington D.C. in which over 100,000 rallied for a King Holiday. Wonder again came to Washington to march for an MLK National Holiday the following year, January 15, 1982.

Barbara Lee (1946- ), a Democrat, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives from California since winning a Special Election to that office in 1998. Prior to that time she had served from 1990 through 1998 in the California State Assembly and State Senate. She is the only member of the U.S. Congress, House or Senate, to have voted against the use of force following the September 11, 2001 terrorism attacks. Her justification for this was that the authorization to wage war was too broad and granted too much power at a time when the facts were not yet known.

Lawrence Douglas Wilder (1931- ), a Democrat, is the grandson of slaves. He served in the Virginia State Senate from 1969 to 1985, whereupon he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia serving in that capacity from 1986 to 1990. Doug Wilder was elected Governor of Virginia in 1989 and served as Governor from 1990 through 1994. In September 1991 he announced his candidacy and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. In 2004, he won election as the Mayor of Richmond with almost 80% of the votes cast. Douglas Wilder is the first elected African-American Governor in U.S. history. The two buttons presented here are from his 1992 presidential bid, and his 1989 gubernatorial campaign (Don Beyer was on the ticket as Lieutenant Governor and Mary Sue Terry, Attorney General). (Additional buttons pertaining to African-American candidates for president may be found at our website entitled, "Presidential and Maryland Gubernatorial and Senatorial Campaign Buttons" at Presidential Campaign Buttons)

Sheila Dixon (1953 - ) is a Democrat who in 1999 became the first African-American woman to be elected president of the Baltimore, Maryland, City Council. It was in this capacity as city council president Dixon was sworn in as Mayor of Baltimore upon former Mayor Martin O'Malley's swearing in as Governor of Maryland in January 2007. She was elected mayor in her own right in November 2007. Sheila Dixon is the third African-American to serve as Mayor of Baltimore and the first woman to hold this position. As part of a plea agreement resulting from a guilty verdict pertaining to corruption charges, Sheila Dixon agreed to resign from office effective February 4, 2010.

Barbara Jordan (1936-1996), a Democrat, was born in Houston, Texas. She failed twice to be elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but in 1966 won election to the Texas Senate. Barbara Jordan was the first African-American to be elected to the Texas State since 1883, and the first African-American woman ever in the Texas legislature. She was reelected in 1968 serving until 1972. In 1972 she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, thus becoming the first African-American woman from a Southern state to serve in that body. Barbara Jordan would serve in Congress from 1973 through 1979.

The National Coalition on Black and Civic Participation (NCBCP) was established in 1976. The organization seeks to develop leadership skills within the African-American community and encourage African-American involvement, both locally and nationally, in areas pertaining to education, civic involvement, and social and economic justice. Their Operation Big Vote program is a national grass-roots effort aimed at getting out the vote and promoting civic engagement. This button was given out at the National Coalition booth at the 40th Anniversary Rally of the March on Washington held on August 23, 2003 in Washington.

The Wal-Mart Company has since 2000 sponsored a nationwide program in celebration of and commemorating February's Black History Month. Various displays and the distribution of historical materials are featured at many of the stores across the country. This particular button was given to the developer of this website by the manager of the Wal-Mart Store in LaVale, Maryland.

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (1961- ) a Democrat and U.S. Senator from Illinois, became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States of America on November 4, 2008. He was re-elected to a second four-year term in the November 6, 2012 General Election. He was also first African-American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review. Obama worked in Chicago as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer and has also lectured on Constitutional Law. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate serving from 1997 to 2004, until his election to the United States Senate in 2003 serving from 2004 until his resignation in 2008.

Obama's Vice-presidential running-mate was Delaware Senator Joseph R. Biden (1942- ). Both are portrayed on the button shown here commemorating the January 20, 2009 Inauguration. Obama's wife Michelle (1964 - ) and Biden's wife Jill (1951 - ) are also shown.


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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