Jackie Ormes was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on August 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She taught herself to draw at an early age and showcased her skills with a page of cartoons in her high school yearbook. After graduation, she entered the media landscape as a proofreader and freelance reporter for the nationally circulated Black newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier.
In 1937, the Courier published Ormes’ first comic strip: “Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem,” which at times reflected the more serious struggles of real people migrating from the South to the North to escape racism and find better opportunities. Ormes’ trailblazing career continued with “Candy” and “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger”—her longest-running work–and her final comic, “Torchy in Heartbeats.”
The talkative and assertive Patty Jo and the silent Ginger first appeared on September 1, 1945.
Cartoonist Liz Montague had the privilege of doing the Google Doodle honors.
Q: What were your first thoughts when you were approached about the project?
A: I was really honored and then immediately intimidated. It’s scary to condense an entire person’s life and career into a few illustrations, and I really wanted to do Jackie justice.
below: cartoonist Jackie Ormes