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January 15, 2007


MLK Day As A Window Into Social History; A Few Black Cartoonist Pages

Here are a few sites to visit for those interested in seeing more work from black cartoonists, then and now. There are certainly many, many more.

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1. Pioneering Cartoonists of Color: Tim Jackson's clearinghouse/resource for information on black cartoonists through the 1960s, many of whom worked in the Black Press for publications like the Chicago Defender. (above art: Jackie Ormes)

*****

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2. The Bungleton Green Archive at Barnacle Press: Bungleton Green was the longest-running black comic strip, with a number of notable creators given the creative reins at various points in its run. You can read a history of the strip here; an article accompanying the archive singles out the Jay Jackson run.

*****

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3. Oliver Harrington's Soul Shots: Beyond this run of vicious cartoons from 1969-1972, there's no obvious single source to see more from the great Oliver Harrington -- mostly what you get are a cartoon or two on on pages like this and this. The late cartoonist's wikipedia page seems fairly accurate in its take on his very interesting life, including the greatest "cartoonist on a gig that went awry" story ever: Harrington's taking a job at an East Berlin magazine and waking up at the end of it on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

*****

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4. E Simms Campbell at American Art Archives: Campbell could do it all: strip cartoons, panel cartoons, and paintings in the cartoon-art tradition that seethed with life and vitality. He was an enormous figure in commercial art as well as comics/cartooning. Tim Jackson's site has a fine biography.

*****

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5. Ebony Article on Black Cartoonists, 1993 This article provides a rough survey of newspaper strips created by black cartoonists that were running in the early '90s and connects past cartooning efforts with those more modern examples. Also, if you look in the sidebar you can find links to other interesting articles, like a profile of Keith Knight from 2004 and Ollie Harrington's obituary from Jet. (art: Stephen Bentley)
 
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