Activism through Historical Posters

Detail of a poster showing former president Ronald Reagan's face in green with the word "AIDSGATE" printed in bright pink across the bottom, below his chin.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - 12:00am to Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 12:00am
Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
333 Cedar Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Highlighted in the Medical Library’s newest wall exhibition are posters reflecting activism on behalf of women, children, and the HIV/AIDS community, dating from 1970 to 1998.

These posters provide snapshots of larger efforts by activists to challenge the status quo and promote the welfare of people who needed action from government and industry groups. The Historical Library houses over 2,000 posters reflecting the history of medicine and health broadly, including materials related to activism and social movements.

Featured posters include AIDSGATE, 1987, from the Silence = Death Project, criticizing President Ronald Reagan’s lackluster response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that roared through America and the world in the 1980s.

Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot, 1970, created by Mary Ann Lupa, was used in support of the Women’s Strike for Equality, a nationwide demonstration marking the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Lupa was Chicago’s National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter president and one of the organizers of the Women’s Strike for Equality in Chicago.

Susan Wheeler, Curator, Prints and Drawings and Historical Medical Posters