KEY POINTS

  • Jackie Ormes was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on Aug. 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • At an early age, she taught herself to draw and published a page of cartoons in her high school yearbook
  • After graduation, she became a proofreader and freelance reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier

Google Doodle honored Jackie Ormes, the first and only Black female newspaper cartoonist of her time in the United States, on Tuesday.

On Sept. 1, 1945, Ormes' groundbreaking single panel “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger” debuted in the Pittsburgh Courier. It featured the smart and fashionable Ginger and her precocious six-year-old sister Patty-Jo.

The Google Doodle for the day gives a glimpse into the stages of Ormes’ life, from her beginnings as a self-taught artist to an amazing cartoonist and activist whose work continues to inspire.

The slideshow, which has been created by cartoonist Liz Montague, also reflects Ormes' artistic style.

"I drew a lot of inspiration from Jackie's illustration style, such as the lines she uses as well as her compositions and layouts," Montague said in a Q&A with Google.

Ormes was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on Aug. 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At an early age, she taught herself to draw and showcased her skills with a page of cartoons in her high school yearbook. Following graduation, Ormes became 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.” Her work at times reflected "the more serious struggles of real people migrating from the South to the North to escape racism and find better opportunities," Google wrote while describing Ormes' works. After "Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem," Ormes created “Candy”, her longest-running work “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger” and her final comic, “Torchy in Heartbeats.” 

"Jackie is a huge inspiration for me. She made such honest, fearless work and centered it entirely around Black women," Montague said. "It's harder than you would think: to make characters that look like you, when you look so different from most people in that space, so to do the work she did in mid 20th century America is mind-boggling."

Ormes retired in 1956 but continued to be an advocate and community leader throughout the rest of her life. She died aged 74 in 1985 and was posthumously inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists' Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Hall of Fame in 2018.