Meet: Jackie Ormes, The First African American Woman Cartoonist

In African American Art, African American History, Books on November 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Jackie Ormes, The First African American Cartoonist


I was on Facebook earlier this morning and saw this post regarding African American female cartoonists. The site is entitled, The Ormes Society that was featured on the social networking site. The society is named after Jackie Ormes, the first African American Woman Cartoonist. I immediately went online to research who she was and how long she had been creating black cartoons. Nancy Goldstein, a scholar, wrote a biography about Jackie Ormes and features some really amazing work by the cartoonist on her website.

The first comic strip that I read was entitled “Torchy in Heartbeats,” which ran from 1950-54 in African American newspapers. The website says of the cartoon, “Torchy pursues adventure and romance, while at times confronting racial injustice and social ills.”

The next strip is entitled “Patty Jo ‘n’ Ginger,” the cartoonist created eighty-eight of these cartoons. It features information regarding history, advocacy, and the African American experience in the United States.

Jackie Ormes, also created African American dolls in the 1940’s and they were named: “patty jo dolls”.

There is a great video that you can watch on the website that features commentary about the dolls, and some historical/visual commentary is available to listen to in regard to the time period.

Jackie Ormes’ work was published in African American Newspapers including the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier from 1937-56. According to Nancy Goldstein, the cartoonist was a leftist, and was investigated by the FBI during the McCarthy Era.

After reading about Jackie Ormes, I checked out The Ormes Society in more detail. There website features a nice listing of African American women cartoonists and historical documentation regarding this genre. Their creed as a society states on the website that they are, “… an organization dedicated to supporting black female comic creators and promoting the inclusion of black women in the comics industry as creators, characters, and consumers.”

If you are interested in African American cartoons this is a great website to bookmark. I really enjoyed it too. For more information on  both of these great discoveries check out the links below.

Visit: Jackie Ormes Online

Visit: The Ormes Society Online


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