James Pinckney Alley was born in Siddell in Saline County in 1885 and became one of the best known editorial cartoonists of his time. In 1923, he became one of the first employees of a southern newspaper to win the Pulitzer Prize.
James Alley attended Benton Schools and graduated in 1903. He worked for a period at the local pottery, but later moved to Little Rock for employment. While doing odd jobs, he began to draw for magazines
and occasionally a cartoon for newspapers. In 1908 he was an employee of the Cronk and Foster engraving company where he held the position of commercial artist. He also married Nona Lane in that year, who continued the “Hambone’s Meditations” cartoon dynasty after his death.
His skills appear to be self taught, along with a correspondence school he attended in 1907.
His family moved in 1909 to Memphis, Tennessee, where he began to work for The Commercial Appeal, a newspaper. He became the editorial cartoonist and gained regional and
national prominence. While at the Commercial Appeal, he created “Hambone’s Meditations, a popular cartoon about a black man who usually spoke of the recent news and
As earlier stated, after Alley’s death in 1934, his wife continued his work with the help of their son, Cal, until the Commercial Appeal decided to drop the
cartoon in 1968.