Women's March Collection

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On Saturday, January 21, 2017, more than 100,000 people gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol, as part of the Madison Women’s March. This was one of 653 of “sister marches” across the United States coinciding with the Women’s March on Washington. In all, 4.6 million participated in events across the US, making this the largest single-day protest in the history of our country.

Around the globe, Women’s Marches took place on all seven continents and included more than 7 million participants. These protests performed, in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, a sense of weighty ideological and political division.

This collection records protest experiences and provides an opportunity to understand key issues through poster art. Some posters were mass produced. Most were made in local sites, from kitchen tables to community centers where the process of crafting offered opportunities to talk about personal concerns and pressing social problems. For many people, the experience of marching did not simply involve speaking out. It also opened space and time for ethical listening, recognition, and the possibility of acknowledgement.

Collections of photographs documenting Women’s March posters seek to preserve unique examples of folk artistry that poignantly addressed some of the central debates surrounding gender equality and civil rights. This collection also implicitly calls attention to what needs to be further welcomed – the voices of women of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and those with disabilities. These crafted pieces of rhetoric, often made by hand, tell us something important about how the women’s movement might proceed and what is at stake

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“We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest”