Friday, October 16, 2015

New Herblock exhibit opening at Library of Congress next week

Herblock Looks at 1965: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part II

After winning a landslide victory in the 1964 presidential election, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) promoted legislation that improved education, medical care, retirement benefits, and voting rights for all Americans. Through his cartoons, Herblock sided with Johnson on his Great Society programs—aimed at reducing poverty in America—and the implementation of democratic immigration reform and gun control. However, the cartoonist felt Johnson's Vietnam policy was too aggressive.

Herblock also focused his attention on the horrific stranglehold Ku Klux Klan organizations held on American politics and the legal system, as well as the Klan's involvement with the local police force in the Southern states. Although the Klan had existed in various iterations for a century, by 1965 participation rates had increased enormously in the South in response to the civil rights movement and African American mobilization in the 1960s. Although a minority of Southern whites belonged to the Klan, the organization's ruthless murders and intimidation made headlines news and drew the attention of President Johnson, who used both the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee to undermine Klan organizations.

Currently on exhibit: September 26, 2015–March 19, 2016

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