Herblock Looks at 1963: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons
In 1963, during the third and final year of his presidency, John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) faced repeated opposition to his legislative initiatives. Republicans rebuffed his calls for a lasting peace and argued against the signing of a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union. When he wanted to offer tax cuts to reduce economic stagnation, Kennedy fought with his own political party in the Democrat-controlled Congress. His efforts to increase resources for schoolchildren and to protect the wilderness met with resistance from both political parties. Congress resisted most strongly, however, Kennedy’s attempts to improve the lives of African Americans.
Herblock, the nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post newspaper, had a front row seat on the Civil Rights Movement, which gained momentum through the March on Washington that took place on August 28, 1963. Emphasizing that the United States was built and maintained on documents that called for equality, he chastised whites who used violence to reinforce a second-class status for African Americans. Herblock insisted that progress depended on improvement for everyone.
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