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The Cartoons of Dwane Powell

Dwane Powell's self-portrait

A self-portrait by Dwane Powell, 1974

A selection of thirty original political cartoons from longtime News and Observer cartoonist Dwane Powell can be seen here. They provide a brief glimpse into Powell's style and creative approach and cover a range of the issues and political figures that he represented over many years. 

Powell worked for the N&O from 1975 until his retirement in 2009, though he kept drawing until his death in 2019. His cartoons took on all subjects, but his primary focus was state and national politics. Regular readers of the paper will remember Powell’s iconic caricatures of politicians Jim Hunt, Jesse Helms, and many others.

Powell donated a large collection of drawings, artwork, and personal papers to the Southern Historical Collection in the Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. Most of the collection, comprising over 3,500 drawings, is available as a digital collection. Using the online collection, readers can explore cartoons by subject or date, enabling a new and exciting way of exploring North Carolina politics and culture through the pen of one of its most trenchant observers.