Zines have long been a way for marginalized communities to record their stories and organize. Zine libraries are making sure those histories aren’t forgotten.
by Rosie Knight, BuzzFeed Contributor, December 2018
“Sweaty music venues, photocopiers, riot grrrls — these are the images that likely come to mind when you think of zines. Though the women-fronted punk rock movement of the early ’90s is often thought of as the time when zine culture thrived, the reality is that zines have long been a way for marginalized communities to record their stories, spread information, and organize. From the wood-printed abolitionist pamphlets created by the American Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s to La Catrina satirical cavalera cartoons made and distributed by José Guadalupe Posada in the 1900s to the handouts the Black Panther Party disseminated in the ’60s, zine culture as we know it today was created by, and built to fit, the political and social needs of communities of color.
That these zines are often handmade with a relatively small self-publication circulation means they provide a great accessible space for anyone to create work on their own terms. It also means they tend to be rare, running the risk of being easily lost to history. But in libraries, colleges, and museums around the world there is a movement to archive and record this vital work, which could change the way we understand and interact with zines as a whole.”
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(Image: La Calavera de la Catrina, José Guadalupe Posada)