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Honor Dr. King, Broadside, 1970


Materials in the Library of Virginia’s collections contain historical terms, phrases, and images that are offensive to modern readers. These include demeaning and dehumanizing references to race, ethnicity, and nationality; enslaved or free status; physical and mental ability; and gender and sexual orientation. 


At the close of the Civil War and after the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, all male citizens, regardless of their race or previous status, were supposed to be able to vote.  However, many states, including Virginia, found ways to exclude Black men from voting in spite of having this right. In 1965, these discriminatory practices were outlawed under the federal Voting Rights Acts which allowed many Black Americans to vote for the first time.

It was a challenge to get all eligible voters to the polls in many communities as polling stations were often located in difficult to access areas.  In order to promote the importance of registering to vote this poster, created in 1970, invokes the name of Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advertisement campaigns using this type of imagery were not uncommon and were often effective reminders of the importance of having the right to vote.

Definition: Broadsides were posters, announcing events or proclamations, or simply advertisements. 

Citation: Honor Dr. King. Richmond, Va.: Richmond Welfare Rights Organization, 1970. Broadside 1970 .H6 FF, Manuscripts & Special Collections, Library of Virginia


Social Studies: VS.1, VS.8, VS.9, USII.1, USII.3, USII.4, USII.9, CE.1, CE.3, VUS.1, VUS.7, VUS.14, GOVT.1, GOVT.18, GOVT.19
Art: 4.1, 5.1

Suggested Questions

Preview Activity

Look at It: Look at the broadside, what might have been the intent of this broadside poster?

Post Activities

Analyze:  Civil Rights icon and leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated two years before this poster was printed.  To what extent is using his name important in the drive for voter registration?

Artistic Exploration: Make a voting registration poster with the image of a notable person. Who did you choose and why?