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Animating the Great Migration and After
Book Review

Dolinar, Brian

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/05/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article

Brian Dolinar reviews Pioneering Cartoonists of Color by Tim Jackson.




African-American Cartoonists at one time were the most visible artists illustrating the tragedy and humor of Black life in America. A new book, Pioneering Cartoonists of Color, is the first comprehensive study of a little-known page in Black history, written by Tim Jackson, himself an African-American cartoonist.

Even Jackson admits that early in his career he was uninformed about those who had come before him. Reference books on cartoon history simply did not include African Americans. With this book, he recovers the forgotten names and lost art works by cartoonists of color.

Many will remember the recent comic strip The Boondocks by African-American cartoonist Aaron McGruder, featuring Huey Freeman, a Black youth transported from the inner city to the sleepy suburbs. It was nationally syndicated in some 200 newspapers, and later became a TV show on the Cartoon Network.

But decades before The Boondocks, cartoons were a common feature of Black popular culture. During the Great Migration, Black cartoonists gave voice to the contradictions of racist America. Newspapers like the Chicago Defender, Amsterdam News and Pittsburgh Courier were widely read by the masses of ordinary Black folk.

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