A brief history of the “clenched fist” image

Interesting history of the Raised Fist salute from a really informative blog. I recommend it.

1960s: Days of Rage


“A persistent symbol of resistance and unity, the clenched fist (or raised fist) is part of the broader genre of ‘hand’ symbols that include the peace ‘V,’ the forward-thrust-fist, and the clasped hands. The clenched fist usually appears in full frontal display showing all fingers and is occasionally integrated with other images such as a peace symbol or tool. The human hand has been used in art from the very beginnings, starting with stunning examples in Neolithic cave paintings. Early examples of the fist in graphic art can be found at least as far back as 1917, with another example from Mexico in 1948. Fist images, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions, the United States Communist Party, and the Black Panther Party for Self-defense. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something – holding…

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