As we approach Election Day 2016 and the atmosphere is fraught with charges, counter-charges, debates, and Twitter, The Wiregrass Archives hosts a display of works by Alabama’s master editorial cartoonist Charles Brooks that cover presidential elections from 1960 through 1984.
Brooks became the Birmingham News’s first editorial cartoonist in 1948 after attending Birmingham-Southern College and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, serving in World War II, and drawing gag cartoons for a Chicago ad agency. He retired from the News in 1985, and in 1998 donated four thousand original drawings to the Birmingham Public Library.
The BPL Department of Archives and Manuscripts chose 42 images for a free traveling display, thanks to the generosity of Tom Sketritt and The Birmingham News. This sample image shows JFK nervous over Richard Nixon’s visit to Alabama in search of votes in the neck-and-neck 1960 campaign. Nixon lost, but ran again in 1968 and 1972, when he broke “The Solid South” by winning more than 72 percent of Alabama’s votes.
The cartoons and their explanatory panels will remain on display until November 11, 2016, in the Gallery of Everett Hall on the Troy Dothan Campus. The exhibition is FREE and OPEN to the public. Thanks to Jim Baggett and the staff of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Birmingham Public Archives for making this available, and to Dean Christopher Shaffer of the Troy University Libraries for facilitating its transport to Dothan.