Longtime Political Cartoonist Ron Rogers Dies at 65, Former Chronicle Staffer

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RICHMOND, VA — Ron Rogers, political cartoonist for The Chronicle of Winston-Salem, died Jan. 7, 2020, after a sudden illness. He was 65.

Rogers was an award-winning political cartoonist, illustrator, graphic artist and designer. He was considered the first Black political cartoonist at a daily newspaper when he worked at the South Bend Tribune in Indiana in the early 2000s.

Ron Rogers, alongside a self-portrait (Courtesy of the Rogers Family)

He was born on May 13, 1954, in Richmond, Virginia, days before the historic Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision, and grew up mindful of history and politics.

He attended Richmond Public Schools and was a 1974 graduate of Maggie L. Walker High School. He also attended Virginia Commonwealth University and J. Sargent Reynolds Community College.      

He became astute in illustration and caricature, and at an early age began drawing earnestly, developing his own comic book series.

Rogers studied art, history and politics in college and on his own, and developed a career in newspapers as a political cartoonist and illustrator.  He started his career as a freelance political cartoonist for The Richmond Afro-American and Planet in 1980.

At various times in his career, Rogers also worked in graphics and design at various newspapers across the South and Midwest. He also illustrated books and greeting cards and drew personal caricatures for people.

He received numerous national and statewide political cartoonist awards as well awards for his illustration and design skills, including at The (Winston-Salem) Chronicle. He was featured in a national journalism magazine: Editor & Publisher. He was also a former staff cartoonist at The Augusta Chronicle.

Rogers was known for his extensive knowledge of history and politics and his abilities to illustrate complex ideas with his art. He was also known for being nice and having a great sense of humor. He touched many lives as a mentor to young journalists and as an adviser to budding artists across the nation.

At the time his death, he was producing political cartoons as a freelancer. He also produced a blog at www.getintoon.wordpress.com/

He is survived by his wife, Donna Whitaker Rogers, former Managing Editor of The Winston-Salem Chronicle; and Business Editor, The Augusta Chronicle; his mother; two sisters; four brothers, two aunts; one uncle and his wife; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.

Family and friends’ visitation and funeral for Rogers will be at Joseph Jenkins Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., 2011 Grayland Ave., Richmond, Virginia 23220. Phone: (804) 358-9177; Fax: (804) 358-3876.

Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Second Baptist Church (in memo section put Social Media Ministry), 1400 Idlewood Ave., Richmond, Virginia 23220.

Online condolences can be made at www.jenkinsjr.com.