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3 July 2007

JSU Alum and Editorial Cartoonist Leilah Rampa
to Study at Chicago’s School of Art and Design

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Leaving Her Mark, with Pen and Ink

By Bob Davis
The Anniston Star


Upon meeting Anniston Star editorial cartoonist Leilah Rampa for the first time, one prominent Alabama politician teasingly asked, “Were you abused as a small child?”

The obvious answer is, no. She is an editorial cartoonist. Like most in that field she uses pen, ink and paper to knock down the puffed up with brutally precise accuracy. It’s not a tortured childhood, but a refined love of justice that drives editorial cartoonists.

It’s what drives Leilah Rampa, who has worked for The Star since 2003. And it’s what regular readers of her work will miss starting this month. Leilah is leaving the paper to concentrate on earning a master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Art and Design.

Leilah has had quite a journey since coming to East Alabama almost 10 years ago as a high school exchange student. She went on to Jacksonville State University, where she came to the attention of John Fleming, who was then the paper’s editorial page editor.

Leilah cut her teeth cartooning in support of Amendment 1, the 2003 move to reform Alabama’s tax structure that eventually died a brutal death at the polls. It was a worthy introduction to Alabama politics, a subject her editorial cartooning probed deeply.

Now she is moving on, but not without Alabama leaving its mark on this native of Chur, Switzerland. Leilah’s Chicago friends tell her they can hear the South in her Swiss accent. Speaking on the phone Friday, she told me, “I’ll always have a place in my heart for Anniston, Ala., and for The Anniston Star.”

Likewise, she has left her mark on this newspaper and its readers.

About Bob Davis

Aliceville native Bob Davis is the editor of The Anniston Star.

See story at the Anniston Star Web site.

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