DescriptionTheodore Roosevelt: The Iconic "Equality" 1¼" Button. There is an interesting back story to this sought-after item. Roosevelt created quite a stir when he invited Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House-the first African-American to do so. The first items inspired by the event, a 1½" pinback and a print, were intended to honor the gesture. They featured a clearly-identifiable Washington, and the image is respectful. A crystal water bottle sits on the table between the men.
The "knock-off" version offered here is clearly intended to satirize the meeting. The water bottle has become whiskey (undoubtedly to inflame the many Prohibitionists of that era), and the recognizable portrait of Washington has been replaced with a generic African American.
All varieties of "Equality" buttons are rare and highly valued. This is the only one in color, and hence particularly popular. The pair of suspended metal shoes has no political meaning of which we are aware. Overall condition is excellent. There are a couple of inconsequential small stain marks at 2:00-3:00, but this example is better than most; for some reason this particular item often comes with condition issues. From the Merrill C. Berman Collection.
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