The 1950s aren't exactly known for being a time of inclusion and acceptance, but this mid-century Superman could teach 2016 American children a thing or two about what it means to be a good citizen.
The simple drawing shows Superman surrounded by kids of different ages and races, giving advice to his attentive audience.
"...And remember, boys and girls, your school — like our country — is made up of Americans of many different races, religions and national origins." Superman instructs the children. "So … if YOU hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin — don’t wait: tell him THAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN."
The image was re-introduced to the contemporary world on imgur and reddit about a year ago, but a 2008 auction on Hake's Americana and Collectibles featured the scene printed in black and white onto a book cover and was eventually sold for $805. The collector's piece was believed to be dated earlier, around 1949 and published by Nat'l Comics Pub. Inc, the pre-cursor to DC Comics, in partnership with The Institute For American Democracy Inc.
It's incredible that this poster of Superman lecturing about standing up for non-Christians and students of color would do just as well on the walls of an American school in 2016.
As Donald Trump's election campaign comes to a close, racial bullying in schools has increased to worrying levels. What are children supposed to think when a major political figure denies the American identities of Muslim war heroes and our generation of American immigrants? While many children dream of growing up to be president and attribute super-hero-like qualities to the commander in chief, the lessons that have come out of Trump's candidacy are hardly inspirational.
Thanks to time travel (and the internet), Superman's message comes to us from 75 years in the past to remind us what being American really means: Americans are not identified by their race or their religion and real Americans speak up against bigotry and fear-mongering wherever they arise.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @2013venjix