10 Events in History that have used the Raised Fist Symbol

raised fist, also known as the Power Fist, is a symbol of solidarity and support. It has been used in fights against oppression – related to gender, race, class and ethnicity. It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. Its most widely known usage is by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. This iconic symbol is an in iconic marker of minorities’ fights against oppression – minorities of not only sexual orientation but also of gender, race, class and ethnicity.

  1. On June 30th, 1917, the earliest known usage of the fist symbol in the illustration, ‘The Hand That Will Rule the World’ by Ralph Chaplin, Solidarity. The illustration depicts a group of workers joining their fists to create one giant fist during the World (I.W.W.).
Solidarity, June 30, 1917. The Hand That Will Rule the World-One Big Union. Line art
published by the Industrial Workers of the World. This political cartoon by Ralph Chaplin, titled “The Hand That Will Rule the World,” appeared in the June 30, 1917, issue of “Solidarity,” a newspaper .
  1. It was first depicted in Paris by Honoré Daumier, inspired by the Revolution of 1848. The Revolution saw the overthrow of King Louis-Philippe’s monarchy.  Daumier was moved by the intense passion of the people and used the raised fist as a symbol of their “strength, determination and will to fight.”, who was in Paris during the time known as the “Bloody June Days,
  2. A raised fist was used as a logo by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1917. used by the Republican faction as a greeting, and was known as the “Popular Front salute” or the “anti-fascist salute”.
Children preparing for evacuation during the Spanish Civil War (1930s), some giving the Republican salute. Wikipedia

3. During the the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Republican militias and international brigades used the raised fist as a symbol of anti-fascism.

4. In 1948 the raised fist became popular as a graphic symbol by Taller de Gráfica Popular, a print shop in Mexico that used art to advance revolutionary social causes.

CREFAL 5th anniversary

5. Frank Cieciorka, Artist and activist, produced a similar version in the U.S. for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Students used this version for a Democratic Society and the Black Power movement.

6. The Black Power fist is the most widely known usage is by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

7. Black athletes, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos, raised their fists during the 1968 Olympics protesting racism and injustice on the world stage.

“We had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard,” – Tommie Smith

8. The Feminist Movement for gender equality used the fist in the 1968 Miss America Protest of “The Degrading Mindless-Boob-Girlie Symbol”. It quickly spread to become the women’s liberation trademark. This gesture was also used by the feminist movement during

9. The pride march activist movement that claims space for a community and creates
visibility to the otherwise unnoticed. According to TriPride, The flag represents queer people of color (QPOC) and how the black community and the queer community are woven together. The raised fist was added to the six-striped flag and included various shades of brown and a white stripe to represent the multiple colors of the “human rainbow.” 

10. The most recent use of the raised fist is from the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in response to the disproportionate police brutality experienced by black people.

BLM Protest in Chicago 2020

Work Cited

The raised fist, or the clenched fist, is a symbol of …. https://www.deafvideo.tv/94855726293

Raised fist – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raised_fist

A Brief History of the Raised Fist – The Black Sheep Agency. https://theblacksheepagency.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-the-raised-fist

A 20th-Century History of the Raised Fist as a Changing …. https://brewminate.com/a-20th-century-history-of-the-raised-fist-as-a-changing-and-cross-applicable-symbol/

NFL anthem protest: How fist salute became a symbol – BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37346890

Not Sorry Feminism: Feminism and Cultural Appropriation. http://www.notsorryfeminism.com/2014/11/feminism-and-cultural-appropriation.html

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