A Personal Picket Sign

I liked this poster immediately. It’s innocent, almost childlike, which contradicts strongly with its poignant message. The words seem etched in crayon, and the handwriting—a bit off kilter—as well as the scribbled coloring, are in line with its simple theme.

A sunflower coupled with a simple and direct message is the basis for Lorriane Schneider's 1967 poster protesting the Vietnam War.

But I like it even more now that I know the story behind it.

This poster was created by a mother. Like any mother having brought life into the world, she was dedicated to preserving it.

Concerned that her eldest son would be drafted into the army and shipped off to Vietnam, Lorriane Schneider designed the print in 1967 to protest the war, the draft, and the growing number of American deaths. She chose a flower, a ubiquitous symbol of hope at the time, and drew four leaves on the stem, one for each of her four children.

Out of the poster a movement grew.  Begun by only 15 ladies, the organization Another Mother for Peace was founded later in 1967 with a mission of “educating women to take an active role in eliminating war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies.” It continues today as a non-profit, and the group uses the print as its official logo.

Despite the poster’s quiet appearance and soft style, it drove a loud and stirring movement. Even without the in-your-face, bold approach common to a lot of protest art, the poster and its message gave way to a striking anti-war statement.

This poster is notable not because of what it looks like, but because of what it achieved.

Schneider called it her “personal picket sign.” But she didn’t carry it alone.

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