Celebrating Women's History Month

March 21, 2010

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist
Presentation by Nancy Goldstein

Jackie Ormes drawing in her studio.
Jackie Ormes

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist chronicles the life of a multi-talented woman who became a successful cartoonist. Ormes's cartoon characters-Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty-Jo, and Ginger-delighted readers of African American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier between 1937-56. This biographical presentation provides an invaluable glimpse into the history and culture of that era. As a member of Chicago's black elite, Ormes's social circle included leading political figures and entertainers of the day. People who knew her say that she modeled some cartoon characters after herself as beautifully dressed and coiffed females, appearing and speaking out in ways that defied stereotyped images of blacks in the mainstream press. Ormes’s politics, which fell decidedly to the left and were apparent to even a casual reader of her cartoons and comics, eventually led to her investigation by the FBI during the McCarthy era. In the late 1940s, Ormes (1911-85) transformed cartoon character Patty-Jo into a doll that is now a collector’s item.

This presentation by Nancy Goldstein includes a video display of many of Jackie Ormes's cartoons and comic strips, some in color, some from original artwork, and some digitally photographed from actual newspapers.

Free and open to the public, March 21, 2010, 3:00 pm, at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66612.

To RSVP by March 19, call the Brown Foundation at (785) 235-3939 or send an email by clicking here.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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