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Right On Right On

Right On Right On Cause Button Museum
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Right On Right On button back Cause Button Museum
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Illustration of raised fist inside a circle on a white background.  Black text above and below on outer edge of button.

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“Right on,” is a shortened form of, “Right on time,” a phrase used to signify that something is correct or right. Many believe the phrase began as an African American phrase that was first coined in 1925 and recorded in Odum and Johnson’s The Negro and his Songs. The raised, clinched fist has been used to illustrate the plight of marginalized classes unifying against an oppressive power. The Black Panther Party [BPP] adopted and popularized this symbol in 1966. For them, it promoted black liberation and the plight of police brutality against the black community. It gained global recognition during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games when American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, donned black leather gloves and raised their fists while the national anthem played at the awards ceremony in what many consider one of the most overtly political statements in Olympic history. Smith later stated in his autobiography, Silent Gesture, that the salute was not necessarily a “Black Power” salute but one for “Human rights.” The BPP propagated its message through many different literary, political, and artistic means including pins, t-shirts, posters, slogans, symbols (i.e. the clenched fist), mass demonstrations, protests, leaflets, and a newspaper, The Black Panther.


1968 Olympics black power salute. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from Acoli, S. (1985, April 2). A Brief History of the Black Panther Party and Its Place In the Black Liberation Movement. The Talking Drum. Duffield, C. (2020, June 19). Black lives matter fist symbol: Meaning and history behind the black power raised fist salute. Inews. Right on. (n.d.). Dictionary.Com. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from Seale, B. (1970). Seize the time: The story of the black panther party [EPub]. Retrieved from

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