Remembering 'Wee Pals' creator @MorrieTurner #RIPMorrieTurner
Tributes flowed freely online after the Oakland native who became the first nationally syndicated African-American cartoonist died Saturday at 90
From Turner's Creators Syndicate about page: "In 1965, he created the Wee Pals comic strip. It was Morrie's intention to portray a world without prejudice, a world in which people's differences -- race, religion, gender, and physical and mental ability -- are cherished, not scorned.
"When Wee Pals was first created, bringing black characters to the comics' pages was by no means an easy task. In 1965, only five major newspapers published the strip. It was not until 1968 -- and the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. -- that Wee Pals achieved nationwide acceptance. Within three months of King's death, the strip was appearing in over 100 newspapers nationwide. [...]"
- From CBS Sacramento's December 30, 2012 article "At 89, First Nationally Syndicated Black Cartoonist Still Drawing And Giving Back": [...] “I was surprised because I didn’t think the metropolitan daily newspapers would be interested in anything black,” said Turner.
But they were, and Wee Pals made its debut in 1965 in Chicago. But that contract came with strict rules.
“There were very heavy restrictions on me. In fact, I got behind because they rejected so many strips,” said Turner.
And much to the surprise of the higher-ups, those strips would later be published.
“So I just whited out the dates and changed them like it was new stuff, and they used them,” said Turner. [...]
- In recent years, Turner regularly shared his perspectives on starting out, continuing to follow his artistic muse, and keeping the faith in a fundamental vision of young people of all colors living and learning together:One particularly poignant example, excerpted from a long-form article by writer Jeff Chang in The Believer, was his reaction to the Barack Obama's victory on November 2008.Others came in videos like these:
- As the week began, Turner's family, friends and admirers shared word:
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