The Fist is Still Raised

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44_It can't happen here-1937-WPA.tif
A poster for Sinclair Lewis’s play “It can't happen here” shows three officers with raised fists, and a fist raised toward them, ostensibly the viewer’s. It was printed in 1937 as an advertisement for the Federal Theatre Project presentation…

Fists evident in the WPA/FAP archives are not only connotative of holding tools and showing labor power in a strike, but also conjure the fist of justice held up but the Statue of Liberty – certainly not an oppositional image.

In a poster advertising Craft School at the Henry Street Settlement, the fist holding the hammer and the paintbrushes below are aesthetically quite similar to the Artists Union symbol developed a few years earlier.

The poster “Civil Liberties in War Times,” was made in 1940 by WPA artist Christopher DeNoon for a lecture by Max Werner, then editor of The Nation . The poster shows “an armored gauntlet clenched in a fist,” suggesting power controlled by…

The Voice of Action was a radical labor newspaper that was published weekly in Seattle from March 1933 until October 1936. This cover shows a raised fist *as* the paper itself, leading an interracial group of workers.

Art Front published from 1934-1937, and it was a dual venture of the Artists' Committee of Action and the Artists' Union. The cover of the Nov. 1934 first issue of Art Front shows both the logo of the Artists’ union, a fist holding three…
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