Virtual exhibit examines effect of political cartoons on Arkansas history

Old editorial cartoon on the Geneva negotiations and the prospect of a nuclear freeze

A newly published online exhibit, “No Laughing Matter: Political Cartoons and the Arkansas Historical Perspective,” examines the profound effects political cartoons have had on Arkansas history and culture. 

The exhibit is hosted by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture. Embedded within the exhibit are webpages with lesson plans and other educational materials for teachers that have been designed to meet requirements of state social studies curriculums.

“The goal of the project is to not only educate audiences about the role political cartoons played during the course of Arkansas history, but also to speak to the wider role of economic, cultural, and historical development within the state,” said Deborah Baldwin, UALR associate provost.

The virtual exhibit features drawings by cartoonists Bill Graham of the Arkansas Gazette (1948-1985) and Jon Kennedy of the Arkansas Democrat (1941-1988) depicting various topics and events from Arkansas’s history such as:

  • Voting (local and national elections)
  • Funding for education
  • Desegregation of schools
  • Urbanization and economic development
  • Prison reform
  • Local gambling legislation

The Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Center for Arkansas History and Culture a $10,424 grant to develop the exhibit and the related educational symposium.

Visit the online exhibit for more information.

In the upper right photo, Jon Kennedy editorial cartoon courtesy of the Center for Arkansas History and Culture. 

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