The Radical History of Black Cartoonists

Source: In These Times
by Sherell Barbee

“With [b]lack writers and artists shut out of white-owned publications like the Chicago Tribune for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the flourishing of [b]lack-owned periodicals like the Chicago Defender, Jet and Negro Digest (renamed Black World) brought not just articles written by and for [b]lack readers, but [b]Black comic art. At a time when merely owning copies of the Defender was considered dangerous in parts of the South, Chicago-based artists like Leslie Rogers (1896-1935), Jay Jackson (1905-1954), Jackie Ormes (1911-1985), Daniel Day (1913 -2003) and Tom Floyd (1928-2001) dared to create radical cartoons. On exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center until Jan. 9, 2022, Chicago: Where Comics Came to Life (1880-1960) dives into the origins of comic art while highlighting its lesser-known [b]lack history. A mile away at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, a related exhibit — Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now — just closed, detailing its more recent history.” (11/16/21)