Although Thomas Nast was an ardent supporter of equal rights, he often resorted to racial and ethnic stereotypes in his Harper’s Weekly cartoons. Questioning the actions of some southern black Republican legislators, in the cartoon on the left Nast drew the figure of “Columbia,” symbol of the nation, chiding: “You are aping the lowest whites. If you disgrace your race in this way you had better take back seats.” Nast got a taste of his own medicine in this answering cartoon (right) on the cover of the New York Daily Graphic, entitled "I Wonder How Harper’s Artist Likes To Be Offensively Caricatured Himself?" Such consciousness in the press about offensive imagery would not last long. By the 1880s, with the end of a national commitment to black equality, racist stereotypes characterized most published cartoons and illustrations.
Source: Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, March 14, 1874; Th. Wust, New York Daily Graphic, March 11, 1874—American Social History Project.