Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Jackie Ormes and Liz Montague

I missed Jackie Ormes's birthday yesterday. But millions of people took note, since she was the "Google Doodle" that day.

Here's more about Jackie, straight from Google:

"Ormes was known for her satirical and stylish cartoons and comic strips that challenged the derogatory portrayals of Black female characters prevalent in the media. She is widely recognized as the first and only Black female newspaper cartoonist of her time in the United States. On this day in 1945, her groundbreaking single panel “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger” debuted in the Pittsburgh Courier, introducing the world to the smart and fashionable Ginger and her precocious 6-year-old sister Patty-Jo. Each slide of today’s Doodle provides a glimpse into stages of Ormes’ life, from her beginnings as a self-taught artist to a powerhouse cartoonist and humorist whose work continues to inspire.

"Jackie Ormes was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on August 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She taught herself to draw at an early age and showcased her skills with a page of cartoons in her high school yearbook. After graduation, she entered the media landscape as a proofreader and freelance reporter for the nationally circulated Black newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier.

"In 1937, the Courier published Ormes’ first comic strip: “Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem,” which at times reflected the more serious struggles of real people migrating from the South to the North to escape racism and find better opportunities. Ormes’ trailblazing career continued with “Candy” and “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger”—her longest-running work–and her final comic, “Torchy in Heartbeats.”

"Across all of her work, Ormes’s heroines faced real-life issues like romantic heartbreak, environmental justice, and gender inequality, mirroring the issues Ormes encountered in her own life and those around her. Her characters were all independent women—confident, intelligent, attractive, and brave, who persevered against adversity to reach their next adventure.

"Ormes furthered positive depictions of Black women and girls while also expressing her talent for fashion design through the development of several dolls related to her characters. In 1949 she made history by designing one of the first high quality American Black dolls “Patty-Jo,” complete with an extensive wardrobe produced by the Terri Lee Doll company. Later, her 1950 debut of a new, full color comic strip featuring her character Torchy, came with an accompanying paper doll topper, “Torchy Togs.” This bonus feature promoted a positive depiction of Black women while advising them on such fashion tenets as fabric, cut, and seasonal trends.

"A pioneering professional woman in a male-dominated cartooning industry, Ormes retired in 1956 but continued her commitment to advocacy and community leadership throughout the rest of her life. In recognition of her achievements, Ormes was posthumously inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2014 as well as the Will Eisner Comic Industry Hall of Fame in 2018.

"Thank you, Jackie Ormes, for helping to strip away negative stereotypes one panel at a time."

Liz Montague, the first African-American New Yorker cartoonist, created the Google Doodle. Here's a profile of her from earlier this year:

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