I recently acquired over 100 U.S. political stickers from the 1960s and ‘70s protesting the Vietnam War and U.S. imperialism, and calling for racial equality among blacks and whites. The stickers were in their original envelope from a J. S. Kennard, Jr., 26 Winant Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08824. Underneath the return mailing label is rubber-stamped “PEACE PRODUCTS, Dr. J. S. Kennard, Manager.” Underneath that is a gummed yellow sticker label with a quote that states, “If we could keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations, they will arrive at a solution of their own. General Shoup, U.S. Marine Corps.” The envelope of stickers was originally sent to a Mr. James T. Wicke, Acting Secy., Human Relations Confrontation, 2418 Pied Piper Lane, Wausau, Wisc., 54401. I can’t make out the date the envelope was first sent out, but it costs .24 cents at the time.
There are basically four different types of stickers in the envelope. The first that I’ll describe today are yellow and orange perforated and gummed labels that run about 7/8 x 1 7/8 inches to 1 ½ x 1 ¾ inches in size. Some of these stickers give an address, such as “Preserve your moral balance when your government engages in criminal war: EXERCISE DAILY IN CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. Be a ‘Night Raider.’ Use FANSHEN Stickers: 1331 P.O., New Brunswick.” Many stickers quote political, military, and religious figures of the day: Gen. M. B. Ridgeway; Senator Wayne Morse; Senator Frank Church; Sen. George McGovern; Gen. Douglas MacArthur; U. Thant; Martin Luther King; and Pres. John C. Bennett, Union Theological Seminary, NY. The Bennett sticker states, “TO THE CLERGY: If the ministers keep silent about the war in Vietnam, the very stones in their churches will cry out!”
Other stickers in this batch state:
- CHILDREN are NOT FOR BURNING
- WITHDRAW NOW, NEGOTIATE LATER, Vietnam bill for U.S. damage
- THE PATRIOT “strives to keep his government from doing what is wrong.”
- Who gave the US the right to interfere in countries whose politics we don’t like? God or the Devil?
- It is NATIONALISM NOT COMMUNISM that animates the resistance movement in Vietnam; the war will not end until the U.S. sees it.
- Clergy who do not protest the war in Vietnam forfeit their respect of moral citizens. Enough of Priestitution!
- OTHERS SEE US … “Guilty Men, whose own might is their God!” – Bible: Habakkuk 1.11
- THE TRAITORS Are the men in Washington who send American Boys to Die for greedy profiteers.
I spent a fair amount of time yesterday trying to find information about PEACE PRODUCTS, FANSHEN stickers, J. S. Kennard, Jr., Mr. James T. Wicke, and Human Relations Confrontation. Not much luck on anything. So far, the only J. S. Kennard, Jr. I could find from the 1960s and ‘70s is one someone called J. Spencer Kennard, Jr., who wrote an article called “The Burial of Jesus,” in JBL 74 , 227-38. This piece is cited in several other journals and books about Jesus, and given that a few of the stickers quote the Bible and make reference to clergy and God, it might be the same Kennard ten years later. My own father was a minister in the 1960s and early ‘70s and became an anti-Vietnam War draft counselor, so perhaps these two men followed the same path. Or it’s just wishful thinking on my part. I do know, however, that my interest in protest graphics stems from anti-war posters we had around the house when I was a kid. One poster in particular has always stayed with me. It had a quote by Harvey Cox, a Yale classmate of my Dad’s, that read, “Not to decide is to decide.”
More on these new stickers to follow. Now get out on Tuesday and VOTE!!