Author Nancy Goldstein Explains the Life and Legacy of Jackie Ormes
January 15, 2009
On Thursday, January 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., the life of African American pioneer Jackie Ormes is highlighted in a biography penned by Nancy Goldstein titled Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist.
The book, named an American Library Association Booklist Top 10 Biography of the Year, delves into the life of Ormes, who blazed a trail as a popular cartoonist with the major black newspapers of the day, including the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender.
Ormes’s cartoon characters (including Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty-Jo, and Ginger) delighted readers and spawned products including an elegant black doll with a stylish wardrobe and “Torchy Togs” paper dolls. Ormes was a member of Chicago’s black elite, with a social circle that included leading political figures and entertainers. Her politics, which fell decidedly to the left and were apparent to even a casual reader of her cartoons and comic strips, eventually led to her investigation by the FBI during the McCarthy era.
The biography’s more than 150 illustrations include photographs of Ormes and a large sampling of her cartoons and color comic strips, including some furnished by cartoonist and cartoon historian Tim Jackson. Her work provides an invaluable glimpse into American culture and history, with topics that include racial segregation, U.S. foreign policy, educational equality, the atom bomb, and environmental pollution, among other pressing issues of the times — and of today’s world as well.
This event is co-sponsored by the Black Archives of Mid-America. Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the presentation. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.