patty jo doll

Jackie Ormes, the first female African American cartoonist, was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on August 1, 1911. Her earlier comics, such as Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem (1937-1938) and Candy (1945), shed light on the hardships of many African Americans and social issues.  Later in 1946, Ormes came up with Patty Jo ‘n’ Ginger, which ran for 11 years and had a lot of political and social satire. The comic’s influence later gave way to the creation of the Patty Jo doll in 1947, becoming the first African American doll based off of a comic character.

Today we remember Ormes as a successful syndicated black female cartoonist, who put forth a positive new model for black depictions of the era, with intelligent and fashionable black women characters. She also gave African American children one of the first toys that did not reinforce negative stereotypes.