The following paragraph analyzes a political cartoon from the Raleigh News and Observer from May 26, 1900. The analysis draws upon secondary sources to help interpret the cartoon. The example adheres to proper scholarly standards by including citations (in this case, parentheticals) and a reference list.
Depictions of African American Misrule in the Disfranchisement Campaign
During the campaigns of 1898 and 1900, political cartoonist Norman Jennett created a number of viciously racist depictions of African Americans for inclusion in the Raleigh News and Observer, a newspaper which was sympathetic to the Democratic Party and its white supremacist agenda. In this particular example, North Carolina Congressman George H. White is pictured as an elephant, a symbol of the Republican Party, of which he was a member. Although White is not identified by name, as he was the only African American serving in Congress between 1897 and 1901, the reference to “our only Negro Congressman” would have likely been recognizable to most readers. The Congressman, whose face is somewhat caricatured, is shown contentedly suckling from a jug marked “TERM OF CONGRESS WORTH $5,000 A YEAR.” This suggests that White was only interested in his own financial gain and also ties him to stereotypical representations of African Americans as lazy drunkards. The caption at the bottom suggests that White’s days as a congressman (and by extension the days of “negro domination”) would soon be over. As White and Josephus Daniels, the editor of the News and Observer, had an intensely antagonistic relationship, it is perhaps no surprise that the Congressman was singled out for attention by the paper’s cartoonist, particularly as he provided the perfect example of the supposed "negro domination" that the Democrats campaigned against. For example, during the campaign of 1900, Daniels repeatedly attacked White for statements he made during a debate over lynching law as White reportedly claimed white men were just as likely to attack black women as black men were to attack white women. This cartoon, thus, represents a more visual attack in an extensive campaign against the congressman. (UNC CH-Libraries, "White"; UNC CH-Libraries, "Daniels"; "UNC-Ch Libraries, "Jennett"; Justesen 2000, 1-32; Anderson 1981, 286-291).
Justesen, Benjamin R. "George Henry White, Josephus Daniels, and the Showdown over Disfranchisement, 1900." North Carolina Historical Review 77, no. 1 (January 2000): 1-33.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries (UNC-CH Libraries). The North Carolina Election of 1898. "George H. White (1862-1948)." Accessed April 11, 2012. http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/1898/bios/white.html.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries (UNC-CH Libraries). The North Carolina Election of 1898. "Josephus Daniels (1862-1948)." Accessed April 11, 2012. http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/1898/bios/daniels.html.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries (UNC-CH Libraries). The North Carolina Election of 1898. "Norman Jennett, 1877-1970." http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/1898/bios/jennett.html.