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Lawrence Bush
October 12, 2017

Herbert Lawrence Block, who drew political cartoons for the Washington Post for 55 years as “Herblock,” was born on this date in Chicago in 1909. He died in 2001. Block was an important supporter of the New Deal and sounded early alarms about the rise of Nazi Germany. He coined the term “McCarthyism” in a cartoon in 1950 and savaged Richard Nixon during his presidency in the early 1970s. Herblock drew with strong detail and wrote minimalist captions that targeted government hypocrisy, legislative cruelty, and corporate power, and appealed to a faith in the common good. His work won three Pulitzer Prizes. Today, the Herb Block Foundation supports activism to defend American rights, encourage citizen involvement, and create pathways out of poverty.

“There’s always a clean slate, a fresh sheet of paper, a waiting space, a chance to have another shot at it tomorrow.”—Herb Block

Watch the official trailer for the 2013 documentary Herblock: The Black & the White:

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.