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Jackie Ormes


Another discovery, for me, at the recent Book Expo was this new book from University of Michigan Press. Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist is not about an animator, but is the fascinating true story of a female black comic strip artist who achieved considerable success between the years 1937 and 1956. The author has set up a nice website devoted to Ormes with samples of her comics work, excerpts from the book (by Nancy Goldstein), and images of the Patty-Jo doll, inspired by her most popular strip. Publishers Weekly has an in-depth article about how Ormes’ work was rediscovered and turned into this biography. If you are interested in the history of comics, Ormes’ story is a long-forgotten part of its legacy.

  • Cool of you to post this. There is also an organization named after her, supporting black female comic creators called The Ormes Society:

  • I came across this book just last week at the Greenwich library. Never knew anything about her. Not only an interesting subject, but the book has pretty nice production value as well. . .

  • Wow..this is something you don’t hear about every day. I guess she really made an impression.

  • As soon as this headline came up in my RSS feed, I skipped everything else and will go back to the other messages later. I had no idea a book had been published about her and I will surely get a copy. Thanks again for the great posts, Brewmasters!

  • Katella Gate

    Thanks for sharing this resource with us – I’m running out the door now for a 4th celebration, but will be going thru the links more carefully tonight.

    I’m very curious to know how African Americans saw themselves in cartoon form, especially in terms of graphic representation, story line, dialog, and cultural aspirations. My main interest is to get some kind of datum line in reference to all the “black face” cartoons from the 1920s to the 1960s. “Black face” art itself presents a spectrum of messages from innocent but gauche caricatures to blank race hate.

    By having access to art created by Blacks for Blacks of the period, it goes a long way in establishing a base line to measure the White created “coon art”.

  • Amazing… Thanks for the post.

  • Dave (Odd)

    I love hearing these underdog stories. She must’ve had a lot of belief in what she did, just to persevere in an anti-black, anti-female culture. I want one of those dolls.

  • I’m surprised we never heard of her. Especially since our company(Vignette) spent years doing African-American history films.

    She must have been one amazing woman.

  • Thanks for sharing the book. I purchased it last month, it is a great read and an inspiration for all of us. She was an amazing woman. I do hope more follow in her footsteps.