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"Messages from Masks" Album showcases Civics poster art

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Published on Wed, 01/27/2021

Silkscreen-style poster text reads "PROTECT essential workers" over distant horizon behind fieldworker wearing "Hero" mask over nose+mouth, wide hat as green rows converge at horizon behind.
"Immigrant Agricultural Workers are Essential Workers" Angarita, Jennifer, artist.

The featured poster in our most recent eNews issue comes from a teacher-friendly album of downloadable and easy-to-share images, each accompanied by teaching notes. 

The album showcases Library of Congress new purchases of public service posters created by artists and posted by The posters include direct visual references to the public service propaganda posters of the 20th century, and all have strong graphic design. Each poster also has an artist statement listed in the Library of Congress citation notes. 

For example, the notes by Jennifer Angarita, the artist who created the poster, "Immigrant Agricultural Workers are Essential Workers," read as follows: 

"Farmworkers in the US have been deemed "essential" but have been systematically excluded from the US social safety net and lack basic worker protections. Farmworkers and food workers have always been [an] essential part of the fabric of this country and the rights, protections and respect they deserve is just as essential." 

Posters in the collection have images that make reference to issues of social justice and protection for specific communities in the United States, and also images that harness patriotic iconography to promote masks for overall public safety. We encourage you to use the link to explore.

"Do it! Save Lives - Stay Home" by Mike Nickolson

[image description: in a stylized treatment of the classic Rosie-the-Riveter poster, a woman worker in a dotted headscarf holds up her strong forearm with a fist, eyes looking at the viewer above a protective mask covering nose and mouth]


Alison Noyes

Manager, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the manager of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, where she leads the English Learner Collaborations project funded by a Library of Congress grant to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies.