Google is honoring Jackie Ormes, the late Black cartoonist and activist who challenged stereotypical portrayals of Black female characters, with her own Google Doodle on Tuesday.
Ormes, who was the first Black female newspaper cartoonist, is featured in a colorful tribute on Google's search website. Clicking on the interactive cartoon sends viewers to a comic strip slideshow celebrating Ormes' life and contributions.
"Across all of her work, Ormes’s heroines faced real-life issues like romantic heartbreak, environmental justice, and gender inequality, mirroring the issues Ormes encountered in her own life and those around her," Google said in a blog post. "Her characters were all independent women — confident, intelligent, attractive, and brave, who persevered against adversity to reach their next adventure."
Google chose Sept. 1 to honor Ormes since her single-panel cartoon "Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger" debuted on this day in 1945 in the Pittsburgh Courier. The cartoon introduced "the world to the smart and fashionable Ginger and her precocious 6-year-old sister Patty-Jo," Google explained.
Ormes is widely regarded as the first and only Black female newspaper cartoonist of her time. Born Zelda Mavin Jackson on Aug. 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Ormes took a liking to art at an early age, the Google blog post noted. She taught herself to draw and published cartoons in her high school yearbook. After she graduated, she worked as a reporter and proofreader at the Pittsburgh Courier, a nationally circulated Black newspaper.
Her first comic strip, "Torchy Brown in 'Dixie to Harlem,'" was published in 1937. It focused on the struggles Black people faced leaving the South to find new opportunities. The cartoon launched her remarkable career and left a lasting legacy that endures to this day.
Google put it best, writing, "Thank you, Jackie Ormes, for helping to strip away negative stereotypes one panel at a time."