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Pioneering Cartoonists of Color

Pioneering Cartoonists of Color

By Tim Jackson
Hardcover : 9781496804792, 128 pages, 170 b&w illustrations, April 2016
Paperback : 9781496804853, 128 pages, 170 b&w illustrations, April 2016

The marvelous recovery of neglected Black artists and their awesome body of comics creativity


Syndicated cartoonist and illustrator Tim Jackson offers an unprecedented look at the rich yet largely untold story of African American cartoon artists. This book provides a historical record of the people who created seventy-plus comic strips, many editorial cartoons, and illustrations for articles. The volume covers the mid-1880s, the early years of the self-proclaimed Black press, to 1968, when African American cartoon artists were accepted in the so-called mainstream.

When the cartoon world was preparing to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the American comic strip, Jackson anticipated that books and articles published upon the anniversary would either exclude African American artists or feature only the three whose work appeared in mainstream newspapers after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Jackson was determined to make it impossible for critics and scholars to plead an ignorance of Black cartoonists or to claim that there is no information on them. He began in 1997 cataloging biographies of African American cartoonists, illustrators, and graphic designers, and showing samples of their work. His research involved searching historic newspapers and magazines as well as books and “Who's Who” directories.

This project strives not only to record the contributions of African American artists, but also to place them in full historical context. Revealed chronologically, these cartoons offer an invaluable perspective on American history of the Black community during pivotal moments, including the Great Migration, race riots, the Great Depression, and both World Wars. Many of the greatest creators have already died, so Jackson recognizes the stakes in remembering them before this hidden, yet vivid, history is irretrievably lost.