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Home Daily Dose of History DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Jackie Ormes - Cartoonist

DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Jackie Ormes – Cartoonist

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Jackie Ormes, Black Artist, Black Cartoonist, Black Illustrator, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Zelda

Jackie Ormes was born Mavin Jackson on August 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, William Winfield Jackson, died in a car accident and her mother, Mary Brown, remarried soon thereafter. Jackson and her older sister, Delores, ultimately relocated to Monongahela.

Illustration

While living in Monongahela, Jackson and her sister pursued creative outlets. Delores became a recording vocalist for Decca Records and young Zelda was interested in illustrating. She was asked to create illustrations for the Monongahela High School yearbook while in her junior and senior years.
While still in high school, Jackson earned the nickname, Jackie, which was a shortened version of her last name. She married a man named Earl Clark Ormes in 1931, thus her last name. The couple later moved to Salem, Ohio in order to live with family members after suffering financial hardships as a result of the Great Depression.

Pittsburgh Courier

Ormes applied to the Black-owned weekly newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier where she began working as a reporter and proofreader. In May of 1937, her comic strip, ‘Torchy Brown in “Dixie to Harlem” debuted and was run for an entire year.
Ormes’ character, Torchy Brown, was a woman who traveled from Mississippi to Harlem in order to become a singer at the famous Cotton Club. As a result of her cartoon strip, Ormes became the first Black woman to work as a professional newspaper cartoonist.

Chicago Defender

The Ormes family then moved to Chicago, Illinois. Ormes enrolled in courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and wrote a society column for the Chicago Defender during the 1940s. While writing for the Defender, Ormes created her next big cartoon, ‘Candy.’ This story followed a witty domestic worker and ran for four months.
Jackie Ormes, Black Artist, Black Cartoonist, Black Illustrator, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History

‘Patty-Jo’

In late 1945, Ormes returned to the Pittsburgh Courier. She created her most famous comic, titled ‘Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger.’ Patty-Jo was known for her political commentary, which could be inflammatory at times. The cartoon ran for 11 years. Patty-Jo’s notoriety prompted Ormes to collaborate with the Terri Lee Company in order to create a Patty-Jo doll.

Political

Ormes’ characters were strong women who voiced their opinion regarding political issues. After her ‘Patty-Jo’ cartoon series ended in 1956, Ormes turned to activism. It was believed that she was a member of the Communist Party, causing the FBI to create a file on her. She was not affiliated with the Communist Party.

Legacy

Later in life, Ormes developed rheumatoid arthritis. As a result of her ailment, she was unable to continue drawing. Jackie Ormes suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on December 26, 1985. She was 74 years old.
In 2008, the University of Michigan Press published a book about her life, titled ‘Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist.’ Her papers are on display at the DuSable Museum of African American History, which she helped found.
Jackie Ormes, Black Artist, Black Cartoonist, Black Illustrator, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
Thank you all for reading my article. I’m a part of the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses called We Buy Black. Similar to Etsy or Amazon, this website allows for Black-owned businesses to create a shop and sell their amazing products to the world! If you have a product, you should definitely join this platform! We Buy Black also has it’s Inaugural We Buy Black Convention happening this November 16th-17th in Atlanta, GA and I hope to see you all there. In fact, I along with hundreds of others will be wearing our official We Buy Black T-shirt, so here’s my gift to you: Get 50% off the official WBB T-shirt using my code WBB2018. Peace, family!
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