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Political Cartoons

Tips for “reading” political cartoons:

-Start by listing what is in the cartoon. Describe in detail the things you list. This is what you see literally. There should be no reading into what meaning is contained in the cartoon.

-Next look for words that are in the picture.

-Following your literal assessment, look for symbolic meaning in the
cartoon. Look to see how objects in the cartoon are interacting. Are there relationships? Think about why the author of the cartoon would position the objects as they are.

Polotical Cartoon of an African American Soilder, Anglo-American woman and child.
1. List what you see in this cartoon.
2. What relationships exist between the woman, man and child? Is the child important to the woman? Is the pilot important to the woman? How can you tell?
3. Why is the woman holding the child up to the man?
4. Who “had never been kissed so much”?
5. What is the cartoonist saying about the feelings of whites towards African American pilots? How can you tell?
6. What do you think the pilot is thinking?

Polotical Cartoon of two eagels.

1. List what you see in this cartoon.
2. What do the two birds represent?
3. Why is one bird flying and the other bird watching?
4. Why did the cartoonist choose birds? What is the symbolism?
5. What does the quote “Good hunting, son, - you’re on your own now!!” mean?
6. How does the air force (primarily white at this time) feel about Africans in the military? How does the government feel? How can you tell?
7. What is the cartoonist’s point of view on this situation?

Political Cartoon with eagle climbing a flagpole which has a crow on the top.
1. List what you see in this cartoon.
2. Who/what does the eagle represent in this cartoon? And the crow?
3. How has the cartoonist portrayed the feelings of the crow and eagle?
4. What are the implications of “Jim Crow” sitting on the top of the flag?
5. What does this cartoon say about laws in the United States?
6. How do those laws interact with African American pilots in Tuskegee?


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