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Reply #144: Jackie Ormes (1911-1985), 1st black woman cartoonist [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 01:58 PM
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144. Jackie Ormes (1911-1985), 1st black woman cartoonist
Jackie Ormes was the first black woman to have a career as a cartoonist. She was also the first nationally syndicated black woman cartoonist, starting in 1937 and ending in her retirement in 1956. Her comics appeared only in black-owned newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender, thus giving her limited exposure. She tackled subjects such as politics, foreign policy, racism and even environmental justice.

Her characters, Candy, Patty-Jo and Ginger, and Torchy Brown, differed from the usual derogatory depictions of black people. Torchy Brown was one of Ormes' most beloved characters. She was smart. She was classy. And she frequently rebelled against the prescribed social order.

Nationally syndicated black cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft says that Ormes' characters and stories were real at a time when blacks were typically portrayed in a derogatory fashion.

"Black women were always fat," she says. "Had bandannas on their heads, you know. Had large lips. Were always porters. We were servants. Think of Gone With The Wind, you know. We didn't speak clear English."

Nancy Goldstein, author of the new book, Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist, emphasizes that Ormes did a service to the black community by creating role models with her characters.

Readers saw that if Ginger could graduate from college and if Torchy could challenge the era's racist status quo, they were capable of doing the same.

Ormes "was giving voice to what was in the hearts and minds of so many people: to move forward and make progress," says Goldstein.

While Ormes was an inspiration for people in her time, today she is largely forgotten, save by older readers and black cartoonists.



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93...
http://www.jackieormes.com /
http://lambiek.net/artists/o/ormes_jackie.htm
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