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It’s No Laughing Matter


Found In: language arts, social studies, 6-8, 9-12

It’s No Laughing Matter presents to students in grades 6-12 an approach to analyzing political cartoons and identifying the persuasive techniques used in them.

The Learning Activity demonstrates how political cartoonists use symbolism, exaggeration, labeling, analogy, and irony in the context of a 1962 Herblock cartoon critical of the slow pace of desegregation following the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. Links offer more information about the cartoon and Herblock. Students can practice what they’ve learned by identifying the techniques in four more political cartoons that deal with segregation.

Download and print a PDF of the Cartoon Analysis Guide for students to identify the persuasive techniques used in political cartoons. The guide includes questions to consider.

Learn More About Political Cartoons looks more closely at the featured cartoons and cartoonists used in the activity. Each cartoon also features a brief audio discussion and a link to an artist page with biographical information and additional images.

Resources For Teachers links to resources associated with the activity, more resources from the Library of Congress, and resources outside the Library of Congress.

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