Things that turn 50 this year:
Dracula, the movie.
Hound Dog, by Elvis Presley.
The Peace Sign.
You may absentmindedly draw the symbol on notebooks, or fondly remember the themed Fall '07 collection Moschino did, but do you know the fascinating history behind it? Here's your history lesson, kids. Take notes.
In 1958 London, a protest march was planned from Trafalgar Square to a countryside factory where Britain built atomic bombs during World War II. A textile designer named Gerald Holtom wanted to design a symbol representing the Nuclear Disarmament campaign. He chose the symbol based on the Naval flag semaphore alphabet ("N" for nuclear, "D" for disarmament), which seemed straight forward enough. But when interviewed much later, Holtom explained the symbol had a deeper meaning, too. It was inspired by Francisco Goya's painting of a peasant before a firing squad, showing the deep despair he felt about the war.
Although the symbol did not halt the atomic bomb, an associate of Martin Luther King brought the peace sign to America, where it was adopted by the anti-Vietnam counterculture. Hence, the badges, t-shirts, and vintage GI helmets bearing the logo you can find to this day. The coolest part of the now 50 year old peace sign is that it was never copyrighted, so no one owns it. Or, an even better way to look at it, everyone owns it.
--LYZ MANCINIAnd don't forget the Peace Sign Cake...