Thursday, April 03, 2014

"Herblock Looks at 1964" Exhibition Opens April 5

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington DC   20540

April 3, 2014

Public contact:  Sara Duke (202) 707-3630,

“Herblock Looks at 1964” Exhibition Opens April 5 

The Civil Rights Movement and the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act will be the main focus of a 10-cartoon display of Herblock drawings at the Library of Congress.  Herblock was the Pulitzer-Prize winning political cartoonist at the Washington Post for more than 55 years.

The exhibit, “Herblock Looks at 1964: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons,” will open Saturday, April 5, 2014, in the Herblock Gallery of the Graphic Arts Galleries, ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  Free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, the exhibit runs through Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014

Six of the cartoons in the exhibit deal with Civil-Rights issues.  The other four drawings cover the Barry Goldwater nomination, the ill effects of cigarettes, unregulated mail-order purchases of firearms, and the strained relationship between China and the Soviet Union.

The Herblock Gallery, part of the Graphic Arts Galleries, celebrates the work of Herbert L. Block with a rotating display of 10 original drawings.  The display changes every six months.  A second set of drawings from 1964 will be placed on exhibition from Sept. 20, 2014 to March 14, 2015.

One of the cartoons depicting the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act is “SAFE!” published in the Washington Post on June 21, 1964.  Baseball was one of Herblock’s visual metaphors for the game of politics.  In this drawing, he used the slide into home plate as a celebration for the end of the 54-day filibuster that delayed passage of the Civil Rights Act in the Senate until June 19, 1964.  The House agreed to the Senate’s language and ended the era of Jim Crow legalized segregation.  President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.

The Herb Block Foundation donated a collection of more than 14,000 original cartoon drawings and 50,000 rough sketches, as well as manuscripts, to the Library of Congress in 2002, and has generously continued to provide funds to support ongoing programming.

“Herblock Looks at 1964” is part of the Library of Congress commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act which is anchored by the web-based Civil Rights History Project and the exhibition, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.”  The exhibition, opening June 19, is made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and with additional support from HISTORY®.

The Library has been collecting original cartoon art for more than 140 years.  It is a major center for cartoon research with holdings of more than 100,000 original cartoon drawings and prints.  These works, housed in the Prints and Photographs Division, span five centuries and range from 17th-century Dutch political prints to 21st-century contemporary comic strips.

The Prints and Photographs Division holds the largest-known collection of American political prints, the finest assemblage of British satirical prints outside Great Britain and holdings of original drawings by generations of America’s best cartoonists and illustrators that are unequaled in breadth and depth.  Extensive runs of rare satirical and comic journals from Europe and the United States represent another distinguishing facet.  The Library acquired these materials through a variety of sources including artists’ gifts, donations by private collectors, selective purchases and copyright registration.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.  The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

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ISSN: 0731-3527

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