c.1945 To Give Them A Break Register Vote Ben Shahn CIO African Americans
• Date: c.1945
• Artist: Shahn, Ben
• Size (in): 39.75" x 29.75"
• Size (cm): 101 x 75.6
• Condition: B
• Linen backed: Yes
This striking and rare poster is one of the first created by the artist Ben Shahn for the Political Action Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Shahn was hired as the primary artist for the newly formed Political Action Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the mid-1940s. The C.I.O. Political Action Committee was the first ever PAC established in the United States when it was formed in July 1943.
For this poster Shahn uses a photomontage design of African American children at play against a yellow background with text that reads to give them a break…REGISTER VOTE. The C.I.O. logo appears near the lower left hand corner of the poster. This poster was issued probably in late 1945, before President Truman ended segregation in the US military and well before the battle for Civil Rights in the United States would achieve the status of a national movement. We believe this is probably the first poster issued to use an image of African Americans to promote voter registration.
This vintage original poster has been expertly linen backed with some repair to creasing, pinholes and short tears on the edges. Small areas of loss on the edges have been skillfully restored and some touchup overpainting undertaken giving the poster a very good appearance overall.