Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

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.

Exhibition dates: September 26, 2015–March 19, 2016

“DON’T POINT THAT THING AT ME!”

Incensed that a mail-order rifle was used to assassinate President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd (1907–1971) introduced legislation to control the distribution of guns. Firearms control was just one facet of President Johnson’s efforts to reduce crime. The weapons industry, as Herblock showed, both feared and resisted new legislation. President Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968 into law on October 22, 1968, after both the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), and Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968) had been assassinated.

Don’t Point That Thing at Me!” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, March 10, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06296 © Herb Block Foundation

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ANOTHER GOVERNMENT GOES DOWN

Recognizing that the military junta led by General Nguyễn Khánh (1927–2013) wielded the real political power in South Vietnam, Herblock used the metaphor of an hourglass to portray yet another Vietnamese civilian regime lost to the sands of time. The anti-Communist civilian government of Trần Văn Hương (1903–1982) which the United States had supported, collapsed on January 27, 1965.

Another Government Goes Down, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, January 28, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06248 © Herb Block Foundation

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“KEEP THE LOCAL HOSPITALS OPEN—I’M BLEEDING!”

In 1965, facing pressure from the White House to operate its regional hospital facilities more efficiently, the Veterans Administration closed several of its outmoded campuses and focused efforts on fewer but larger and newer hospitals. Many members of Congress protested the decision—calling it “cruel” and “heartless”—especially those whose districts would be impacted by closures. In this drawing, Herblock illustrates the conflict Congress faced when attempting to balance the federal budget demands with the needs of their local economies.

“Keep the Local Hospitals Open—I’m Bleeding!” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, January 31, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06250 © Herb Block Foundation

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SPECIAL COVER

In February 1965, the Post Office admitted that it had been tracking the incoming mail of more than 24,000 people after a Senate judiciary subcommittee exposed the unconstitutional government surveillance. Postmaster General John A. Gronouski (1919–1996) refused to turn over the list of those targeted, which included the address of at least one member of Congress. Playing on the visual pun of first day covers—cards or envelopes issued by the U.S. Post Office that mark the first day a new stamp is announced, Herblock also referred to the Post Office’s meaning of the phrase “to spy.”

Special Cover, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, March 3, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06272 © Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU CAN GO BACK TO WHEREVER YOU CAME FROM”

As the judiciary committees in both the House and Senate prepared sweeping immigration reform, Herblock indicated his approval for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 by showing President Johnson and the 89th Congress ready to remove “immigration snobbery” from the Statue of Liberty. The act opened the doors of the United States to all highly-educated and skilled legal emigrants, and not just those coming from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany.

“You Can Go Back to Wherever You Came From,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, August 1, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06374 © Herb Block Foundation

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“A GUY’S ENTITLED TO A JURY OF HIS PEERS, AIN’T HE?”

Herblock sympathized with Alabama State Attorney General Richmond M. Flowers (1918–2007). Flowers faced the challenge of finding jurors who did not proudly espouse white supremacist views when Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr., (1945–1994) went to trial for the murder of Viola Gregg Liuzzo (1925–1965), a white civil rights activist who had participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Prosecutors in Hayneville, Alabama, had found it difficult to convict other Ku Klux Klan members for their roles in the death of other white protest marchers. Initially acquitted on state charges, Wilkins was later convicted in a federal court and served seven years for depriving Liuzzo of her civil rights.

“A Guy’s Entitled to a Jury of His Peers, Ain’t He,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, October 19, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06409 © Herb Block Foundation

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COMMEMORATING THE ACTION AT MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA, MARCH 1965

As African Americans and white sympathizers in Alabama protested literacy tests and taxes devised to prevent blacks from voting, Governor George Wallace (1919–1998) used the police force to ruthlessly enforce crowd control. Herblock drew a fictitious memorial honoring the policemen who clubbed non-violent protestors on March 16, 1965, who were petitioning Wallace to enforce the Civil Rights Act. National reaction to the violence and pressure by President Johnson compelled Wallace to grant permission to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., to lead marchers from Selma to Montgomery.

Commemorating the Action at Montgomery, Alabama, March 1965, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, March 18, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06282 © Herb Block Foundation

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“THOSE SNEAKS!”

Alabama officials arrested four Ku Klux Klan members for their role in the murder of Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a white civil rights activist who had been shot as she drove a teenage African American organizer from Montgomery to Selma on March 25, 1965. On April 21, 1965, Gary Thomas Rowe, Jr. (1933–1998), one of the klansmen and also an FBI mole, testified at the trial of purported Klan members about what he witnessed. His actions had permitted their swift arrest and trial. Although initially acquitted in state trial, they were later convicted in a federal court.

“Those Sneaks!” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, April 23, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06307 © Herb Block Foundation

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MOST LAW-ABIDING STATE IN THE NATION

African Americans testified before the United States Civil Rights Commission in Jackson, Mississippi, about the violence and torture that prevented them from exercising their right to vote. Governor Paul Johnson (1916–1985) contributed his own testimony, assuring the federal officials that he intended to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By portraying a policeman and a Klansman in cahoots, hands on the holsters of their weapons, Herblock expressed his negative opinion of Johnson and his skepticism about the enforcement of the law.

“I Wish to Assure All Americans that Mississippi Will Continue to be the Most Law-Abiding State in the Nation”—Gov. Paul Johnson, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, February 18, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06263 © Herb Block Foundation

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“AND FOR THESE FINE AMERICAN KLAN BOYS A GREAT BIG RED-BLOODED HAND”

Chafing as Viola Gregg Liuzzo’s murderers paraded through the streets of Dunn, North Carolina, with members of the Ku Klux Klan, Herblock decried their “American” values. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reduced the legal means to suppress African Americans, but Ku Klux Klan membership—and the violence associated with it—increased. Calling the Klan a “hooded society of bigots,” President Johnson used the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee to disrupt the assortment of organizations that comprised the Klan.

“And For These Fine American Klan Boys a Great Big Red-Blooded Hand,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, May 20, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.09.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06325 © Herb Block Foundation

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

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. However, the cartoonist felt Johnson’s Vietnam policy was too aggressive.

Despite legislative protection gained under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, voting rights remained an issue. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 permitted the federal intervention when states prevented minorities from registering to vote. For Herblock, the right to vote was a basic civil right, and he quoted President Johnson’s speech on March 15, 1965: “Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right.”

Herblock also addressed other issues in 1965. Believing that the right-wing put a stranglehold on the moderates, the cartoonist focused on the internal discord in the Republican Party. As more nations built nuclear weapons during the Cold War, Herblock used Mr. Atom, rough and unshaven, to remind Americans of the fragility of life.

Exhibition dates: March 21, 2015–September 19, 2015

“YOU’RE REALLY ROLLING UP QUITE A RECORD”

Having declared a “war on poverty,” President Johnson used the legislative process to build programs that provided more Americans with equal opportunities. In 1965, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that increased funding to public schools. It also created Medicare for the elderly. By passing the Voting Rights Act, it banned discriminatory practices aimed at minorities. Herblock drew this cartoon a week before Easter in 1965, with a nod to the annual tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll.

You’re Really Rolling Up Quite a Record,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, April 11, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06297 © Herb Block Foundation

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“WE SEEM TO HAVE THAT PAPER TIGER IN OUR TANK”

In this cartoon Herblock uses the term “paper tiger,” a Chinese adage that signifies something is less threatening than it appears. Herblock intends the phrase to be ironic, arguing that Operation Flaming Dart, the aggressive U.S. response on February 7–8, 1965, to North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. military bases was effective in surprising the North Vietnamese. While President Johnson relied on bombing early in 1965, he waited as late as March 8, 1965, before sending ground forces into Vietnam.

We Seem to Have That Paper Tiger in Our Tank,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post on February 10, 1965. Graphite, India ink, opaque white, and overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06257 © Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU’RE AN ELEPHANT?”

When Senator Barry Goldwater formed the Free Society Association in 1965, it further divided the Republican Party. Goldwater did not receive the support of the existing right-wing of the Republican Party or the John Birch Society. He angered Ray Bliss, the party chairman, who said, “I believe we should be presenting a united front to the opposition . . .” By portraying the elephant in the chokehold of an octopus, Herblock expressed his opinion that the right-wing was destroying the Republican Party.

You Absolutely Sure You’re an Elephant? 1965. Published in the Washington Post, July 1, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06352 © Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU MEAN YOU WANT TO CLOSE THE JOINT JUST WHEN I WAS BEGINNING TO GET A CROWD?”

Using the metaphor of the relatively new craze called the “discotheque,” night spots that featured recorded music instead of live bands, Herblock compared the group of nations building nuclear weapons to a club. In 1965, the United Nations prepared resolution 2028 aimed at stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Herblock’s Mr. Atom, an ongoing character, grouses at the thought of the United Nations imposing limitations.

You Mean You Want to Close the Joint Just When I Was Beginning to Get a Crowd? 1965. Published in the Washington Post, November 26, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06436 © Herb Block Foundation

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“SPEAKING OF NATIONAL ORIGINS—”

President Johnson, in his special message to Congress on immigration on January 13, 1965, proposed to eliminate the National Origins Quota System. By showing the president gesturing toward a picture of a colonist establishing democracy, Herblock indicated his approval for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The act opened the doors of the United States to all highly-educated and skilled legal emigrants, and not just those coming from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany.

Speaking of National Origins—,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, January 15, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06239 © Herb Block Foundation

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LITERACY TEST

Having secured the Civil Rights Act in 1964, President Johnson made passing the Voting Rights Act the focus of his 1965 legislative agenda. Motivated by the deadly racial violence at the hands of the police during the marches of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Selma Voting Rights Campaign, Johnson proposed the new law to Congress on March 15, 1965. Herblock quotes the president, and by depicting a white police officer grappling with the text, implied that African Americans had been denied their constitutional rights.

Literacy Test, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, March 17, 1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06281 © Herb Block Foundation

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“AFTER ALL, WE’RE NOT AGAINST VOTING RIGHTS IN PRINCIPLE—ONLY IN PRACTICE”

As the U.S. Senate debated the Voting Rights Act, Republican Everett Dirksen, one of the bill’s initial sponsors, proposed an amendment excluding states where 60 percent or more of the eligible adult population was registered to vote. It would have rendered the legislation ineffectual. Herblock conveys in his cartoon that although conservative senators did not want to enfranchise African American voters, they were unwilling to make explicitly racist statements. On May 26, 1965, the Senate passed the bill without the Dirksen amendment and forwarded it to the House of Representatives.

After All, We’re Not Against Voting Rights in Principle—Only in Practice,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, April 14, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06299 © Herb Block Foundation

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THE MARCH GOES ON

As the Senate approved the Voting Rights Act on May 26, 1965, the legislation moved forward, with a high priority from the Johnson administration, to the House for consideration. Herblock portrays the bill as a marcher, leaving the Senate floor despite efforts to stop it. In March 1965, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders had marched from Selma to Montgomery to pressure Alabama to permit African Americans to register to vote. They used their march to focus the national spotlight on the disenfranchisement of minorities.

The March Goes On, 1965. Published in the Washington Post, May 30, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06333 © Herb Block Foundation

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“DON’T BE GETTING ANY IDEAS THAT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE”

As the Senate prepared bipartisan voting rights legislation the Johnson administration, recalling the filibuster that slowed the passage of the previous year’s Civil Rights Act, pressured the sponsors Democrat Mike Mansfield and Republican Everett Dirksen to move forward quickly. Herblock, mindful that the Senate Rules Committee had failed to strengthen the cloture rule to break filibusters, shared the Johnson administration’s fears.

Don’t Be Getting Any Ideas That You Have a Right to Vote,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, March 11,1965. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06277 © Herb Block Foundation

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“SAY, THIS IS OKAY—A MAJORITY OF US THAT CAN VOTE IN THIS STATE WOULD DECIDE WHOSE VOTES WON’T MEAN MUCH IN THE FUTURE”

Herblock imagined the relief that some people may have felt when Senator Everett Dirksen introduced his amendment to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Believing that Senator Ted Kennedy’s amendment to eliminate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections violated states’ rights, Dirksen then introduced an amendment to exclude states where 60 percent or more of the eligible adult population was registered to vote. With the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African Americans registered to vote and began to elect African Americans into local, state, and national offices.

Say, This Is Okay—A Majority of Us That Can Votes in This State Would Decide Whose Votes Won’t Mean Much in the Future,” 1965. Published in the Washington Post, April 6, 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.08.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06293 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism