Herblock Looks at: 1970 | 1969 | 1968 | 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

Herblock Looks at 1969: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part II

As Richard Milhous Nixon (1913–1994) became the thirty-seventh president of the United States in 1969, Herblock focused not only on issues relating to his presidency but those covered by other journalists, including Soviet political repression in Eastern Europe, military spending at the height of the Vietnam War, the tobacco industry, and congressional salaries. In addition, Block joined the nation in celebrating NASA’s successful Apollo 11 lunar mission.

An advocate for equality and civil rights, Herblock crafted strong cartoons on issues affecting African Americans in the United States, pointing out that Jim Crow laws continued to affect the quality of education despite the passage of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka fifteen years previously. He despaired at the willingness of the Nixon administration and Congress to dismantle the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He called out J. Edgar Hoover for wiretapping African American leaders. And Herblock lampooned African American students who called for separate faculty and dormitories by suggesting what he viewed as a radical extreme.

These ten cartoons—with new drawings introduced into the exhibition every six months—have been selected from the Library’s extensive Herbert L. Block Collection in the Prints and Photographs Division.

Exhibition dates: September 14, 2019–March 14, 2020

“BUT SOME . . . ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”

Using George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm about the Russian Revolution as a metaphor, Herblock compared the current Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev (1906–1982) to the ruthless dictator Joseph Stalin (1878–1953). In 1968, Brezhnev introduced a new doctrine of “Limited Sovereignty” in order to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1969, as the Eastern Bloc countries of Romania and Yugoslavia began to rebel against Moscow’s control of their governments, the Soviet Union asserted its dominance.

“But Some . . . Are More Equal Than Others,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, February 16, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07218 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“IS NOTHING SACRED ANY MORE?”

After President Nixon indicated he wanted to install an anti-ballistic missile system, Congress, which was controlled by the Democratic Party, reviewed the budget submitted by Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird (1922–2016). They found examples of fraud, including money to purchase tanks for which there was no ammunition. Herblock satirizes the budget by portraying a military general and a bureaucrat accustomed to having their decisions accepted without question. They now chafe under the congressional scrutiny of their inflated expenses.

“Is Nothing Sacred Any More?” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, March 23, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07242 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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MAN’S GRASP

By depicting the hands of an astronaut clutching the moon, Herblock shared in the celebration and wonderment at the achievement of the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. Launched on July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins successfully returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. During his moon walk, Neil Armstrong uttered his famous words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Man’s Grasp, 1969. Published in the Washington Post, July 22, 1969. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07327 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“LOVE THAT FILTER”

Herblock became a reformed smoker after a heart attack in 1959, and afterwards drew cartoons that railed against the tobacco industry. In 1969, lobbyists targeted congressmen from tobacco states in the House Commerce Committee to remove the words “cancer” and “death” from television advertisement warnings. Here, Herblock suggested that the committee acted as a filter on the curbs suggested by the Federal Trade Commission. In 1970 and 1971, cigarettes were banned from television, radio, and magazine advertising, although actors continued to smoke in motion pictures and television.

“Love that Filter,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, May 30, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07291 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“NOW, WHERE WAS I?”

Countering a congressman’s words about the need for welfare recipients to have a work ethic, Herblock surrounded him with suitcases representing congressional perks and put a fat pay raise in his pocket. Most new presidential administrations set a quick legislative agenda typically addressed in the State of the Union address, but in 1969, Congress had not passed any legislation prior to leaving on an April recess. Later, the Nixon administration attempted to make reform of the welfare system a priority, but the Senate blocked it.

“Now, Where Was I? Oh, Yes—Why Don’t All the Poor People Get Out and Work,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, April 11, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07256 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU ONE OF THOSE EXTREMISTS WHO THINKS IT’S TIME FOR DESEGREGATION?”

A strong supporter of civil rights, Herblock had already created one cartoon in 1962 reminding Americans time had passed to comply with the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision. Seven years later, he depicted President Nixon as a spokesmen for delaying desegregation. African Americans chafed at the lack of sufficient progress and arrests of students in some school districts for registering to attend white schools. When South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond had objected to desegregation, the Nixon administration extended the deadline for compliance.

“You One of Those Extremists Who Thinks It’s Time for Desegregation?” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, October 29, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.17.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-17205 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“WE JUST WANT TO TAKE YOUR CLOTHES SO THAT WE CAN WEAVE YOU A WONDERFUL NEW OUTFIT”

When the Nixon administration submitted a proposal that would have weakened the need for oversight to protect African Americans voting in Southern states, he received backlash from northern Republicans and African Americans. Herblock, by showing an African American man being ruthlessly stripped of his clothing, alludes to the brute force used to deprive people of their civil rights. While Herblock names the Republican senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond, Herblock makes it clear that the senator was not alone in his desire to undo civil rights legislation.

“We Just Want to Take Your Clothes so that We Can Weave You a Wonderful New Outfit,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, July 8, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with paste-on over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07317 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“NOW, IN PHASE TWO—”

Reacting to African American student activists who push for segregation, despite having only recently won the protections offered by civil rights legislation, Herblock took their demands to what he believed was an illogical extreme. As the black power movement escalated, some African American university students sought programs tailored solely to their interests. Some groups, including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Black Panthers, increasingly focused on African American autonomy. More conservative African American leaders urged against their militancy and decried their desire for segregation.

“Now, in Phase Two—,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, March 7, 1969. Graphite, India ink, opaque white and paste-on over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07232 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU’VE DONE SUCH A GOOD JOB, WE’RE TAKING YOU OFF THIS BEAT”

As the Nixon administration returned to address the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for the second time in one year, Herblock caricatured Attorney General John Mitchell strong-arming the legislation, represented by a policeman. Nixon’s “Southern strategy” of focusing on the South during his 1968 presidential election campaign, made him especially mindful of issues important to southern whites. While the House voted to terminate the Voting Rights Act, Democrats in the Senate successfully invoked parliamentary procedure in an effort to save it.

“You’ve Done Such a Good Job, We’re Taking You Off This Beat,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, December 14, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07408 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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BACK ROOM AT THE RECORD SHOP

Using the metaphor of a record shop, Herblock contrasts the patriotic and law-abiding statements made by long-serving Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover (1895–1972) with the unauthorized wiretapping of African American leaders. During boxer Muhammad Ali’s trial (b. Cassius Clay, 1942–2016) for refusing military service, government officials admitted they had taped his conversations with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929–1968) and Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975). Ramsey Clark (b. 1927), who had served as President Lyndon Johnson’s (1908–1973) Attorney General denied authorizing the wiretapping.

Back Room at the Record Shop, 1969. Published in the Washington Post, June 8, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.17.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07297 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at 1969: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part I

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913–1994) became the thirty-seventh president of the United States in 1969. Herblock had been a persistent critic of Nixon since 1948, starting with the congressman's membership in the House Un-American Activities Committee. However, in 1969, the cartoonist chose to pay more attention to Nixon's overall administration, while only launching a few attacks on the president as a person. Herblock focused on such issues as international negotiations, nuclear weapons, pollution, poverty, student demonstrations, and Supreme Court appointments. Supporters of South Carolina justice Clement F. Haynsworth (1912–1989) decried Herblock's series of "Vend-a-Justice" cartoons, believing they played a role in the Senate rejection of Nixon's nominee.

Herblock once said, ". . . most cartoonists are on the side of the little guy," and in the series of cartoons he drew about the issue of poverty in America, the cartoonist made his position clear. Portraying those who wasted taxpayer money as gluttons, Herblock sympathized with the impoverished and promoted federal resources to alleviate their needs.

These ten cartoons—with new drawings introduced into the exhibition every six months—have been selected from the Library's extensive Herbert L. Block Collection in the Prints and Photographs Division.

Exhibtion dates: March 23, 2019–September 7, 2019

WAITING ROOM

As President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s (1908–1973) administration came to a close, Herblock created a waiting room in which unresolved issues anticipated the start of Richard Nixon’s administration on January 20, 1969. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (1906–1982) looks at his watch, as does the African American man representing cities, while Chinese leader Mao Zedong (1893–1976) glares from a corner. Herblock conveyed, through his metaphor, that Nixon was not moving quickly enough to shape a government capable of handling the pressing matters, and outgoing president Lyndon Baines Johnson was no longer interested.

Waiting Room, 1969. Published in the Washington Post, January 14, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07194 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“YOU SEE, THE MORE ARMS WE HAVE, THE MORE WE’LL BE ABLE TO DISARM”

Distrusting Richard M. Nixon’s stated intention to disarm, Herblock perched the president high on a ladder dropping a nuclear missile into the arms of a woman representing the world’s hopes for nuclear control. Barely able to contain the weapons, the woman has released her olive branch, a symbol for peace. Even as President Nixon proposed a new round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaty with the Soviet Union, his administration debated whether or not to test the new independently targetable, re-entry vehicle “MIRV” nuclear missile.

“You See, the More Arms We Have, the More We’ll Be Able to DISarm,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, August 22, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07349 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“THIS CALLS FOR A REAL CLEANUP JOB . . .”

Herblock disparaged the Union Oil Company’s response to oil seeping from its offshore wells near Santa Barbara, California, in January and February 1969. The cartoonist contrasts the plight of small children standing in an oil slick, while executives relax in the sun determined to rely on advertising to avoid the costs of physical clean-up. After nearly three million gallons of crude oil spilled into the sea, the resulting environmental protection movement led President Nixon to sign the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969.

“This Calls For a Real Cleanup Job—A Whole New Series of Ads to Improve Our Image,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, February 9, 1969. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07213 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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COLLEGE EXAM

Frustrated with student protests that seized and destroyed university property, Herblock posed a rhetorical question to adults paralyzed with indecision about how to punish activists. Using the conceit of a classroom chalkboard, Herblock asks, “What would you do if a little group seized a university building?” While the American Civil Liberties Union fought for the right to assemble, it too, decried student damage and a seeming unwillingness on the part of students to hear other points of view.

College Exam, 1969. Published in the Washington Post, April 16, 1969. India ink, graphite, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07259 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“ETHICS ARE FOR LIBERALS”

While it is unusual for a cartoonist to influence government decisions, supporters of South Carolina Justice Clement F. Haynsworth (1912–1989) decried Herblock’s series of “Vend-a-Justice” cartoons for persuading senators to vote against the nominee for the Supreme Court. Herblock equated the resignation of Associate Justice Abe Fortas (1910–1982) over ethical issues with concerns about Haynsworth’s ethics. Senators James Eastland (1904–1986) and Strom Thurmond (1902–2003), Attorney General John Mitchell (1913–1988), and President Richard M. Nixon rush Haynsworth up a ramp to the Supreme Court.

“Ethics Are for Liberals,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, October 3, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07356 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“WATCH THOSE BREAD CRUMBS — BREAD COSTS MONEY”

Responding to the testimony of Admiral Hyman Rickover that the Department of Defense contracts cost taxpayers an additional two billion dollars by using an outmoded system, Herblock characterized a contractor as a greedy diner throwing away food he did not intend to eat. In contrast, a bureaucrat points an angry finger at a lean child who drops a few crumbs from a slice of plain bread. The Nixon administration attacked Johnson’s War on Poverty programs, reducing benefits and eliminating some community-led efforts.

“Watch Those Bread Crumbs—Bread Costs Money,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, February 2, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07207 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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NIXON, TWO MEN AND BIG MONEY BAG

Using an impoverished person, crushed by the weight of a wealthy man’s money, Herblock advocated for the income tax overhaul U.S. Congress had proposed to President Richard Nixon. Feeling the Nixon administration’s negativity about benefits to the poor, Herblock argued the rich received far more than the impoverished. In 1969, Congress proposed to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while giving the working class a greater number of standard deductions. Despite his reservations on the bill presented to him, Nixon signed the Tax Reform Act of 1969 into law on December 30, 1969.

Nixon, Two Men and Big Money Bag, 1969. Published in the Washington Post, February 14, 1969. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07217 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“SORRY—WE’RE FEEDING ALL THE MOUTHS WE CAN”

Siding with Democratic Party senators who called for an immediate increase in food-stamp aid, Herblock decried the Nixon administration’s budget, which greatly increased military spending while neglecting hunger in America. By placing Nixon between military expenditures and waste and the needs of a starving child, Herblock puts the blame on the president for not doing more to provide for the nation’s poor and on the military for wasting taxpayer money.

“Sorry —We’re Feeding All the Mouths We Can,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, May 2, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07271 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“I KEEP TELLING YOU, WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOU TO SEE”

When four members of the bipartisan United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs toured the South to investigate hunger and malnutrition among the nation’s poor, they found that state and local governments had refused to offer federal programs, including food stamps, to migrant workers on the grounds that they were not local constituents. Herblock used the metaphor of skeletons in the closet, showing a senator forcing his way past a Southern official to locate extreme poverty.

“I Keep Telling You, We Don’t Have Anything for You to See,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, March 12, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white with overlay over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07235 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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“IT SAYS HERE THE ECONOMY NEEDS COOLING OFF”

With four impoverished figures huddling in the snow, Herblock expressed his opinion that the Nixon administration was cool toward the needs of major urban centers in the United States. As the federal government began providing state capitals block grants to combat poverty, some state legislators diverted funds or reduced their internal budgets for cities. Even the president’s own chief advisor on urban affairs, Daniel P. Moynihan, believed the administration needed to double its current spending to deal with the problems of poverty.

“It Says Here the Economy Needs Cooling Off,” 1969. Published in the Washington Post, December 11, 1969. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.16.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-07406 A 1969 Herblock Cartoon, © The Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1970 | 1969 | 1968 | 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism