Herblock Looks at: 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

During the first year of his presidency, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) successfully pressured legislators to enact change. By making the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a priority, Johnson honored the legacy of slain President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963). Johnson also introduced his Great Society program to end poverty in the United States. In Herblock’s eyes almost everything “came up roses” for the determined leader, with the most notable exception being his policy toward Vietnam. Rather, Herblock pointed his ink brush at the failure of Congress to pass gun control laws to protect America’s children, the lack of regulation in the power industry, and the danger local law enforcement posed for African Americans and civil rights workers in the South.

After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Herblock did not attack Johnson or his domestic policies. Instead, his attention was drawn to the Republican Party and its internal discord between the moderate course favored by Nelson Rockefeller (1908–1979) and the right-wing politics of Barry Goldwater (1909–1998). Political advertising on television, at times rancorous, led Herblock to draw his first in a series of cartoons that he customarily drew after each presidential election thereafter.

Exhibition dates: September 20, 2014–March 21, 2015

"Man, We're Pressure-Cooking On All Burners"

In June 1964, natural gas producers pressured President Johnson not to extend F.E.P. Commissioner Charles R. Ross to a second term. Turning up the heat, the industry lobbied Congress, the White House, and the Federal Power Commission. Herblock wrote, “Some of these seem to be under the impression that the agencies exist to serve the industries they’re supposed to regulate….”

"Man, We’re Pressure-Cooking on All Burners," 1964. Published in the Washington Post, June 16, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.07.00) [LC-DIG-hlb-06124] © Herb Block Foundation

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"Oh, Boy!—If the Russians Change Policy—If the U.S. Government Changes Hands—"

Weeks before the 1964 United States presidential election, the Soviets announced Nikita Khrushchev’s (1894–1971) “retirement” on October 15, 1964. The news caused international concern that the policy of “peaceful co-existence with the West” might come to an end. Herblock feared that international instability would undermine the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1946, he had created Mr. Atom, a menacing warhead that frequently appeared in his Cold War cartoons as a metaphor for the fragility of life.

"Oh, Boy!—If the Russians Change Policy—If the U.S. Government Changes Hands—," Published in the Washington Post, October 16, 1964. Graphite, India ink, opaque white, and overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06178 © Herb Block Foundation

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"You Don’t Even Need to Limit Yourself to a Few People"

By the end of 1964, more than a year after the November 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Congress failed to pass significant gun control legislation. Herblock vented his frustration using sarcasm and exaggeration. Members of the National Rifle Association, divided over the issue of controlling mail-order gun purchases, unified their opposition to new laws proposed in nearly every state. Harper’s Magazine reacted to their resistance to gun licenses, calling the NRA a “high-powered pressure group . . . within gunshot of the White House.”

"You Don’t Even Need to Limit Yourself to a Few People," 1964. Published in the Washington Post, December 29, 1964. India ink, graphite, opaque white, and overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06225 © Herb Block Foundation

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Investigation in Mississippi

An investigation into the deaths of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney revealed a Ku Klux Klan plot that particularly targeted Schwerner and Goodman because they were Jewish. Herblock drew this cartoon in response to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s mass arrest on December 4, 1964, of twenty-one men involved in their murders. Those charged in the crimes included Neshoba County sheriff Lawrence A. Rainey and his deputy, Cecil Price.

Investigation in Mississippi, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, December 8, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06211 © Herb Block Foundation

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War Footing

Despite both the military and financial assistance provided to Vietnam, both the Johnson Administration and Herblock despaired over the lack of clout the United States held. Herblock used the visual metaphor of an American soldier tripping backwards down a staircase to symbolize faltering prestige. In December 1964, General Nguyen Khanh overthrew a fledging Vietnamese civilian government and spoke out against U.S. ambassador Maxwell D. Taylor and his foreign policy. Khanh warned if Taylor did not “act more intelligently, the United States will lose Southeast Asia and we will lose our freedom.”

War Footing, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, December 23, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06222 © Herb Block Foundation

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Rose Garden

While Herblock frequently drew cartoons about the Republican Party candidates during the 1964 presidential election, this sunny cartoon, depicting everything “coming up roses,” expresses the cartoonist’s feelings about Lyndon Baines Johnson just five months after the assassination of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. Johnson announced his Great Society program to eliminate poverty on April 24, 1964, a program of which Herblock approved.

Rose Garden, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, April 26, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06090 © Herb Block Foundation

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"We Stand Upon Our Historic Principles"

By having a Barry Goldwater delegate crush an image of President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) as the Republican Party held its presidential nomination convention in San Francisco, Herblock makes it clear that he saw the Republican Party divorcing itself from its historic past with its shift to the right. Because enforcing the newly signed Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a political platform issue, Herblock and other journalists noted the increasing racism from the party that had freed the slaves.

"We Stand Upon Our Historic Principles—," 1964. Published in the Washington Post, July 14, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06135 © Herb Block Foundation

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The Melancholy Days Are Come

Herblock used a wild, ghoulish tree sporting the eyeglasses of Republican Party presidential nominee Barry Goldwater to portray what he saw as the candidate’s pessimism and negativity. In the last three weeks before the November 3, 1964, election, Goldwater attacked Johnson’s policies and stated that “the time has come for the Democratic Party to change its name to the Socialist Party.” Chastising voters, Goldwater stated that American moral fiber is “beset with rot and decay.” Goldwater lost the election by a wide margin, winning 38.5 percent of the popular vote and carrying only six states.

The Melancholy Days Are Come —, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, October 13, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06175 © Herb Block Foundation

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"It’ll be a Relief to Get Back to Plain Old Horror Shows"

Bemoaning the endless negativity in election advertisements, Herblock portrays a couple sitting on a couch wishing they could watch horror shows. The Democratic Party’s famous advertisement featuring a little girl counting petals on a daisy while nuclear holocaust ensued rarely aired during the 1964 election, but its pessimistic tone echoed throughout mass media. As a result, political advertising itself became a campaign issue. The Democratic Party hired ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach to shape their image; the party won not only the presidency but maintained control of the House and Senate.

"It’ll be a Relief to Get Back to Plain Old Horror Shows," 1964. Published in the Washington Post, October 30, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06188 © Herb Block Foundation

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Right-wing Control Turkey Chases the G.O.P.

Days before Americans celebrated Thanksgiving in 1964, Herblock used the turkey as a metaphor for right-wing Republicans, which he believed had the potential to cleave the party into two. Because Republicans had lost seats in the House, they were still the minority party in Congress and had lost the presidential election. Herblock argued “it certainly looked as if the party needed new direction and brighter, more attractive leadership if it was not determined to plod on to wherever it is that the elephants go to die.”

Right-wing Control Turkey Chases the G.O.P., 1964. Published in the Washington Post, November 18, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.07.00) LC-DIG-hlb-06198 © Herb Block Foundation

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During the first year of his presidency, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) made the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a priority, honoring slain President John F. Kennedy’s (1917–1963) legacy. The legislation continues to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and dominates the memory of American life fifty years ago. Herblock had long championed equality and civil rights for African Americans through his political cartoons.

After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, however, Herblock did not attack Johnson or his policies. His attention was drawn to the Republican Party and its internal discord between the moderate course favored by Nelson Rockefeller (1908–1979) and the right-wing politics of Barry Goldwater (1909–1998). Their rancor came to the fore in the 1964 presidential campaign. Herblock also emphasized the need for gun control to protect America’s children. Having quit smoking after a heart attack in 1959, the cartoonist also frequently used his pen as a weapon against the tobacco industry. Internationally, Herblock understood the different interpretations of communism in China and the Soviet Union, which led to increased political tension in the world.

Exhibition dates: April 5, 2014–September 13, 2014

CIGARET BOX

Herblock suffered a major heart attack in 1959 and quit smoking during his recovery. In 1964, his bold image of a coffin-shaped cigarette box dramatically linked smoking to death. As a reformed smoker, he raised public awareness of the negative health issues related to tobacco use. Here, he reinforced the message of a lengthy report issued by a special advisory committee to Public Health Service Surgeon General Dr. Luther L. Terry (1911–1985). The report documented how cigarette smoking can cause cancer and other debilitating illnesses.

Cigaret Box, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, January 14, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06016] © Herb Block Foundation

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“HEY, LISTEN—FOR JUST A LITTLE MORE WE CAN GET A REAL ONE”

By depicting two children looking at both a sales catalog for real guns and a store window display of toy guns, Herblock pointed out the continuing problem of unregulated mail-order purchases of firearms. Just four months earlier, President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, using a weapon that he had ordered through the mail. Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd (1907–1971) attempted to introduce legislation to inform local police of mail order purchases but found no congressional support.

“Hey, Listen—For Just a Little More We Can Get a Real One,” 1964. Published in the Washington Post, February 21, 1964, as “Hey, Listen—For Just a Little Bit More We Can Get a Real One.” Reprinted in 1971. India ink, graphite, crayon, opaque white, and overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06044] © Herb Block Foundation

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DARKNESS AT HIGH NOON

After learning that Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong (1893–1976) had called Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) a “capitulationist” for his policy of peaceful co-existence with the West, Herblock expected a showdown between the two great Communist leaders. Khrushchev retorted “There are some people in the world calling themselves Communists, . . .who do not consider it important to strive for a better life, but call only for the making of revolution.” Both men heavily affected countries under their sphere of influence, but no outright war between China and the Soviet Union occurred.

Darkness at High Noon, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, April 7, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06076] © Herb Block Foundation

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APPROACHING MOMENT OF TRUTH

Herblock represented the use of a filibuster to prevent a vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with a bullfight metaphor evoking the sword of cloture as the weapon to end the non-stop talking. Herblock anticipated the Senate vote to pass the legislation. However, Republicans refused to vote for cloture until after the California primary, when Senator Barry Goldwater had secured enough votes for his nomination. The Senate, feeling enormous public pressure, finally approved the legislation and sent it back to the House on June 19, 1964.

Approaching Moment of Truth, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, May 22, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06108] © Herb Block Foundation

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GREAT DEBATE

Republican senators Thomas H. Kuchel (1910–1994) of California and Jacob K. Javits (1904–1986) of New York, feared that nominating Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for the 1964 presidential election would be suicide for the Republican Party. The liberal Republicans promised to sit out the election if Goldwater received the nomination. Herblock echoed the fears of a Washington Post editorial, “If the Republican Party shrinks into its own extremist, right-wing fragment, it will be dangerous to our whole political system.”

Great Debate, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, May 12, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06099] © Herb Block Foundation

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HALF SLAVE AND HALF FREE

Herblock waited for Senate approval of the 1964 Civil Rights, portraying the bill as a slave in limbo, half-free by the House of Representatives approval of the legislation on February 10. He used the visual metaphor of a ball and chain to represent Southern resistance to the Senate filibuster that began on March 9. On June 10, 1964, three months later, the filibuster ended when the majority of senators agreed to vote for cloture. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.

Half Slave and Half Free, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, February 13, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06038] © Herb Block Foundation

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“AND, OVER HERE, THE ENEMY —PEOPLE”

After an incident in which police used fire hoses and clubs to beat back a student demonstration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Herblock accused law enforcement of targeting African Americans as the enemy. On February 26, 1964, police attacked students from the historically black Maryland State College (now University of Maryland Eastern Shore) when they marched to desegregate restaurants in the town of Princess Anne. Fifty-seven students were injured from dog bites, hosing, and billy stick wounds. The local Student Appeal for Equality (SAFE) invited Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chairman John Lewis (born 1940) to visit and report the police brutality.

“And, Over Here, the Enemy—People,” 1964. Published in the Washington Post, February 28, 1964. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06049] © Herb Block Foundation

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“THIS IS THE END OF ANTI-CIVILIZATION AS WE’VE KNOWN IT”

Herblock showed pro-segregation advocates as jailers with instruments of torture. After the Supreme Court ruled against the School Board of Prince Edward County on May 25, 1964, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (1917–2010) refused to vote for cloture to end the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prince Edward County schools, located southwest of Richmond, were closed for four years to prevent desegregation. By 1964, ten years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, 10% of schoolchildren south of the Mason Dixon line still experienced desegregation.

“This Is the End of Anti-civilization As We’ve Known It,” 1964. Published in the Washington Post, May 26, 1964. Graphite and India ink over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06228] © Herb Block Foundation

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HANDWRITING ON THE WALL

Taking his quote directly from the Supreme Court decision that ruled against the closing of public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on May 25, 1964, Herblock warned that local tactics could not undo the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that supported integration. Angered by the actions of the Virginia segregationists, Herblock later wrote that the denial of education to African American children for four years “stands as one of the most wanton and cruel acts ever performed by any political machine in the entire history of our nation.”

Handwriting on the Wall, 1964. Published in the Washington Post, May 31, 1964. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06113] © Herb Block Foundation

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“SAFE!”

Baseball was one of Herblock’s favorite visual metaphors for the game of politics. Here 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 Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.

“Safe!” 1964. Published in the Washington Post, June 21, 1964. India ink, graphite, crayon, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.06.00)
[LC-DIG-hlb-06128] © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism