|Date added||December 17, 2015|
By Kim Munson
The “handshake” logo used by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL‐CIO) is one of the most widely recognized graphic symbols of labor unity in the United States (fig 1: AFL logo, 1894.). Although the AFL‐CIO has used the handshake or “hand‐in‐hand” emblem for over one hundred years (since 1881), stylistically it has changed during these years both because of the political and cultural pressures of the different eras and because the messages the AFL‐CIO was trying to send us about itself also changed. This article tracks the AFL‐CIO logo through the establishment of the symbol in 1881 and seven subsequent redesigns, showing how the events of the AFL‐CIO’s history and their graphic self‐representation are intertwined.