Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv has designed a new logo for the Semiquincentennial. The company also was involved in the creation of the logo for the Bicentennial in 1976. For this event, C&G&H operated on the basis that America250 goal was to create the most inclusive commemoration in American history on July 4, 2026. Events which occurred after July 4, 1776 through Evacuation Day, November 25, 1783, when England withdrew from New York City after seven years of occupation are not included in the national event.
For the 2026 anniversary symbol, Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv once again used a ribbon-based mark. The red, white, and blue ribbons “signify commemoration, celebration, and purpose,” according to the New York-based brand design firm.
The number 250 is formed from a single continuous sweep of the three ribbons, “suggesting unity, cooperation, and harmony,” C&G&H continues. Aiming to form a “dynamic, vibrant icon,” this is coupled with “elegant” serif lettering spelling out ‘America’.
The title for the release in the print copy of The New York Times was:
Challenge for the Semiquintcentennial: Unite the country with a logo: That was a design studio’s almost impossible mission 12/10/23 print).
The challenges facing the U.S. Semiquintcentennial has been the subject of several previous blogs. Besides Congress excluding seven years of the actual fighting on the ground, the national commission was wracked with internal problems. These were summarized by the NYT:
The commission lost a major sponsor, Meta, and its original chairman was replaced after a lawsuit from employees accused the commission’s supporting foundation of sexism and mismanagement of funds. It is still wrestling with how to commemorate a nation’s complex history at a time when Americans are deeply divided.
The logo will first be displayed at the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 2023.
THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
The first big 250th event that would be known nationally was the Boston Tea Party on December 16. A prelude to the event occurred on December 13 with a talk hosted by the American Revolution Institute by Benjamin Carp Brooklyn College.
On the day and location in question, there were a series of events
Faneuil Hall Boston, MA, United States
The 250th Boston Tea Party Anniversary & Reenactment begins with a dramatic look at the Boston Tea Party throughout the centuries. At Faneuil Hall, 250 years ago, the citizens of Boston resolved to “prevent the unloading, receiving, or vending the detestable tea sent out by the East India Company.” These efforts would ultimately result in the Destruction of the Tea and propel America down the road to revolution. In the years following, citizens would return to Faneuil Hall to reflect upon the Boston Tea Party and seek inspiration from its legacy as they discussed the pressing needs of their time.
December 16 @ 6:15 pm – 7:15 pm
Old South Meeting House 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA, United States
At Old South Meeting House
Join Revolutionary Spaces in the room where it all happened—Old South Meeting House! This building hosted a number of meetings about the East India Company Tea sitting in Boston Harbor waiting to be unloaded and taxed. On that fateful night, 5,000 men gathered for a final meeting about the controversial tea tax, resulting in Samuel Adams giving the signal that would start the Boston Tea Party. Colonists then marched from the meeting house to Griffin’s Wharf and dumped 340 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor! Led by multiple fife and drum corps, the general public is invited to march from Old South Meeting House to the Harborwalk where Griffin’s Wharf once stood. Along the way, those marching will encounter a regiment of Red Coats in Post Office Square.
250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party: Huzzah for Griffin’s Wharf! A Rolling Rally
December 16 @ 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Atlantic Wharf adjacent to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum 8:00pm-8:30pm
The general public is invited to watch a grand-scale reenactment of the Destruction of the Tea from the Harborwalk. Watch as the Sons of Liberty storm aboard the brig Beaver and ship Eleanor to destroy wooden chests of East India Company tea in the very same body of water where the Boston Tea Party occurred exactly 250 years before.
The event received great press coverage. Here in New York, the NYT had in on the front page of the Arts section and most of page 2 (print). The less celebratory title of the article was “Does Tossing the Tea Still Earn Our Sympathy?: A 250th anniversary raises questions relevant today about violently destroying property in the name of a cause.” Jennifer Schuessler wonders how to celebrate a fight for liberty when many Americans including in Boston were not free. “And how do we really feel about protest, violence, and revolution today?”
We now live in a time when even the date 1776 has become a divisive symbol (Nathaniel Sheidley, president and chief executive of Revolutionary Spaces. According to Jonathan Lane, executive director of Revolution 250, the Massachusetts umbrella organization for the 250th in the state, “The idea that what happened in Boston could now happen in any of the colonies is really what brought the American people together.”
Schuessler observes that scholars today see the Boston Tea Party as part of a global event. It linked tea growers in China with British sugar plantations in the Caribbean along with proper Bostonians. As Benjamin Carp stressed in his pre-Tea Party talk on December 13, one had to have sugar when drinking coffee or tea. She reports how the tea party imagery has lived on most famously with the Tea Party in the time of Barack Obama (which became the Freedom Caucus now in the House of Representatives).
THE LOCAL RAMIFICATIONS: THE TOWN OF RYE
There are local ramifications to the Boston Tea Party. It means that 1774/2024 is a big year for the 250th.even if you live in a municipality far from Boston. The Town of Rye, where I live, just had its kickoff meeting to plan for the 250th here at home. The problem is that 1774 marks the first year of civil war in the United States. In response to the Boston Tea Party, Britain instituted the Intolerable Acts. The colonies held a joint meeting called the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774. So while the Boston Tea Party was a local event, hence the name, the Continental Congress was in response to the Intolerable Acts which applied to all 13 colonies. So before there was a July 4 in Philadelphia, there was a September 5 in Philadelphia.
That Congress was followed here on September 27, 1774, by people signing or choosing not to sign a loyalty oath to King George III. Many of the names on that petition are familiar not because their families still live here but because streets have been named after them. That means in the fall of 2024 right smack in the middle of the presidential campaign we will be asking students to debate loyalty to the crown or the patriots just as people in the community 250 years ago did.
In 2024, we will not simply be remembering 1774, we will be reliving it. One presidential candidate already is compiling loyalty lists, of being dictator for a day, and expressing his admiration for dictators around the world in the present. The second candidate will be touting freedom and the Constitution. It won’t be difficult for even elementary school students to make the connection between the events of the past and today.
In addition, 2024 marks the beginning of the bicentennial of the return of American Revolution hero Marquis de Lafayette. The American Friends of Lafayette will be celebrating that event starting with his arrival at Staten Island on August 15 followed by a Broadway parade on August 16. The Westchester County Executive and now Congressional candidate has designated August 18 as Lafayette Day in Westchester (I have the framed proclamation). So just before the school year begins in Rye, there will be a celebration on behalf of Lafayette who obviously was not loyal to King George III. From Westchester, Lafayette continued along the Boston Post Road to Boston.
The celebrations on behalf of Lafayette who was wildly popular will be occurring just as Americans today are divided in third civil war and commemorating the events during the first one. This means that Lafayette’s visit in 1824-1825 to promote unity in a divided country during that presidential election year will play out just as the country comes to blows during the upcoming presidential year and its aftermath. By coincidence, on January 6, 1825, Lafayette was in Washington, D.C. and that is where he will be on January 6, 2025, perhaps even at Lafayette Park.