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Jackie Ormes biographer interviewed by Ann Arbor News

A while back I told you about a new book about Jackie Ormes, one of the first African-American female editorial cartoonists from the 1930s to the 1950s. The biography’s author, Nancy Goldstein, was interviewed by the Ann Arbor News about Jackie’s career and history in doll making, cartooning, fashion design.

Q. Jackie Ormes had an FBI file.

A: She did. They were following her more for her friendships and her affiliations; perhaps they didn’t want to talk about her cartooning, that this was too much of an infringement on freedom of speech.

She had friends in arts groups and intellectual groups who were very far to the left, some of them were American Communists. But you know, even then, the American Communist party and her association with it would be more focusing toward black people, because the Communist Party would offer alternatives the kind of life that many of them had to live with: restrictions on housing, jobs, education, and the Communist party would say, we can open these things up. Of course it was attractive. But there were also anti-Communists in the black community, and she was friends with all them.

Goldstein will give a talk about her book in celebration of Women’s History Month at Ann Arbor District Library on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. The Terri Lee company has also relaunched the Patty-Jo doll, currently available at K-mart. Goldstein helped them write the biographical information about Jackie Ormes on the box.

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