No Laughing Matter: Political Cartoons and the Arkansas Historical Perspective

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. Hosted by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture, the exhibit coincides with a symposium of the same title that took place Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Little Rock Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center. The symposium is free and open to the public.
 
“Political cartoons offer a glimpse of culture at a point in time in a way writing itself may not capture, so our exhibit aims to put words with the brilliant Graham and Kennedy cartoons to explore Arkansas’s varied history. In the virtual format, we have the ability to provide deeper, more in-depth context in addition to hundreds of example cartoons–all for anyone in the world to view any time.,” said Chad Garrett, director of technology and digital initiatives for UALR Collections and Archives and the exhibit’s producer.
 
The virtual exhibit features scholarly perspectives on the drawings of cartoonists Bill Graham of the Arkansas Gazette (1948-1985) and Jon Kennedy of the Arkansas Democrat (1941-1988). An extensive media gallery allows visitors to view hundreds of cartoons from the Graham and Kennedy collections on various topics and events from Arkansas’s history. John Deering, chief political cartoonist and illustrator at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, offers perspective on the cartoonists’ style and artistry.
 
Embedded within the exhibit are lesson plans and other educational materials for teachers that have been designed to meet requirements of state social studies curriculum frameworks. 
 
Visit ualrexhibits.org/laughing for more information.
 
This project is support in part by a grant from the  Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities .