This 18x24" poster was based on my cover for The Nation magazine in January of 2009, when Barack Obama was sworn-in as the nation's 44th President of the United States.
The idea was Barack Obama being sworn into office, surrounded by civil rights figures from throughout history. I then thought it would be appropriate to have the late, great Thurgood Marshall do the honors. I then expanded the idea to include civil rights of all kinds (Chief Joseph, Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, Mandela and Biko, Susan B Anthony, Harvey Milk, etc.)...
Of course, it can't be all-encompassing. There's not enough pages to accommodate everyone who has helped bring about that wonderful moment. But I wanted to include as many deserving figures as possible. I had my personal favorites: King, Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan, Chief Joseph, Stephen Biko, Henry David Thoreau... many well-known figures appear, but along this journey I found a lot of others that I didn't know too much about... Bayard Rustin, Fred Shuttlesworth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Still, Thomas Garrett and Samuel Burris... among others.
Here's the original cover:
I took the original illustration and updated after the actual inauguration. This update included changing positions for the President and First Lady (and their clothes)...
I started ask question like: Why Bayard Rustin but not Paul Lawrence Dunbar? Why Malcom X and not Ralph Ellison? Why not Oprah Winfrey AND Fred Korematsu? Why not Elizabeth Catlett AND Langston Hughes? ...Why not Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham?
At some point I realized the futility of it all and so I blew past the artificial "100" barrier and added over 40 figures from the original... bringing the final count to over 111 figures.
While certainly not perfect... I think it's very representative of the people that move us forward in this life.
The poster is printed on quality glossy stock. 18x24" and I will sign (unless requested otherwise) them. To order: Posters are $30 (plus $5 shipping / packaging) each.