Jackie Ormes Biography – First African-American woman cartoonist. Creator of the Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger…

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist chronicles the life of a multiply talented woman who became a successful cartoonist. Ormes’s cartoon characters–Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty-Jo, and Ginger–delighted readers of African American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier between 1937-56.

This biography provides an invaluable glimpse into the history and culture of that era. As a member of Chicago’s black elite, Ormes’s social circle included leading political figures and entertainers of the day. People who knew her say that she modeled some cartoon characters after herself as beautifully dressed and coiffed females, appearing and speaking out in ways that defied stereotyped images of blacks in the mainstream press.

Ormes’s politics, which fell decidedly to the left and were apparent to even a casual reader of her cartoons and comics, eventually led to her investigation by the FBI during the McCarthy era. In the late 1940s, Ormes (1911-85) transformed cartoon character Patty-Jo into a doll that is now a collector’s item.