|Jackie Ormes (b. 8/1/1911 - d. 12/26/1985)|
Ormes began her journalism career in 1930 at the Pittsburgh Courier as a proofreader, later covering the police beat and other community stories. A year after marrying Earl Ormes in 1936 -- whom she would be married to for 45 years, until his death -- her big break as a comic strip artist unfolded. From 1937 to 1938, the weekly Pittsburgh Courier started publishing her first comic strip Torchy Brown in "Dixie to Harlem," a humorous depiction of a Mississippi teen who found fame and fortune singing and dancing in the Cotton Club.
|Image of Torcy Brown comic strip by Jackie Ormes|
Even for the casual observer, it is apparent that African American cartoonist Jackie Ormes modeled some of her beautiful female characters after herself.
|Image: collectible Patty Jo doll from work of Jackie Ormes|
While creating a comic strips can seem a very non-political endeavor, Ormes' work included social and political satire that landed her on the FBI's investigation list during the McCarthy era. She bravely addressed racial injustice, as well as domestic and foreign policy related to equality, environmental pollution and war issues. Ormes retired in 1956, ending the eleven year run of the Patty Jo 'n' Ginger comic strip. She remained active, however, within the African American community in Chicago through her services with the Chicago Urban League and Clarence Darrow Community Center.
The great number of Jackie Ormes papers are now housed as The DuSable Museum of African American history through a project funded by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium "Color Curtain Processing Project." The papers span from 1938-1985, reflecting her professional and social life in Chicago during that period.