“Book Review: Celebrate People’s History (2nd Edition)”
Reviewed by Joe Walters
A moving collection of graphic posters dedicated to the passionate people throughout history who stood up for what they believed in
Celebrate People’s History is an artful ode to the resiliency of the human spirit. A collection of over 200 posters, this coffee-table style history & art book documents stories across the globe and throughout history of rebellion and activism. Humans have been fighting injustice for thousands of years, and with this second edition of Celebrate People’s History, we have a gorgeously rendered reminder that the history of humankind is one of revolution.
Picture this: this book is face-up on your coffee table. You peel it open and breeze through a few short introductions to the concept of the book. And then, the history of a singular rebellion or act of resistance is illustrated with contemporary art and described in text infused on the poster. You flip the page again to find a new story, a new poster of rebellious history. By the time you’re done flipping through it, you’re likely to have discovered stories of classic, lesser-known, and current revolutions across the world that you may not have seen before.
This book is chock-full of deeply impactful true stories: some victorious, some not. Here are a few of the posters and stories that hit me the hardest:
- Secession of the Plebs
- The Haitian Revolution
- The Rice Riots of 1918
- The St. Augustine Movement
- Uprising at Froebel School
- The Occupation of Alcatraz
But the posters don’t include only acts of singular revolution but also of singular persons and groups of revolution too, like:
- John Brown
- Gay Liberation Front
- The Rani of Jhansi
- Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters & Maids
- Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman
After flipping through its pages, stopping on whichever posters catch your eye, you’ll become aware of a cause or a moment in history that illustrates just how important of a revolution this was—or is—to those being unjustly treated and to the world at large. There are a lot of different ways you can learn about the truths of our activist history, but Celebrating People’s History might just be one of the best ones around.
Some of the text on the posters can be a strain on the eyes, so not all of them will hit you in quite the same way, but they come far and few in between from the posters that teach you something that lasts.
A nice added bonus about this too is that all of these singular posters are for sale. So if you grab a hold of this book, you can find whichever acts of resistance—or revolutionary persons or groups—you’re impacted by the most, and you can order a copy of the poster for your home, classroom, bookstore, library, etc.
Despite its heartbreaking true stories of injustice, this book is a celebration of those who have gone out of their way to instill change in an unjust world. The book shows us that we are and always have been a people of revolution—a people who deserve to be treated as such.
Publisher: Feminist Press
Category: Art & Politics Nonfiction
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