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Poking Fun With A Pen: 40-Plus Years Of Dwane Powell’s Political Cartoons

There was nothing in Dwane Powell’s upbringing to suggest he would end up a political cartoonist. 

He was raised on a working farm in segregated McGehee, Arkansas, where his father oversaw a team of African-American sharecroppers and Powell spent most of his time thinking about girls and football in between tinkering with old farm equipment.

But his incessant doodling brought him first to the attention of his school’s yearbook staff and later caught the eye of a local newspaper editor who started him on a career of irreverent social commentary that would span more than four decades, including 35 years at the News & Observer.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political cartoonist Dwane Powell about the marriage of comedy and criticism he put on paper with his many thousands of satirical cartoons. A selection of his work is on display in a special exhibit at the City of Raleigh museum now through 2019.


Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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