The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

African Americans and Comics

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 9, 2022 21:04

1 user

Harlem's Schomburg Center has a fascinating exhibition about African Americans and the world of comic books and cartoons.

February is Black History Month, so it's a fine time to mention that if you're ever in Harlem, Manhattan, you should visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It's part of the New York Public Library and is a great place to conduct research or to see interesting exhibitions about African American history and culture. Located on the northwest corner of West 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard (aka Lenox Avenue), this is an excellent place to visit when you are in Harlem, and there are plenty of things to do in this neighborhood.

Currently, the Schomburg is featuring an exhibition called "Boundless: Ten Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures." If you are interested in Black culture and arts, comic books and cartooning, and related topics, then check out this well-designed and inviting show. Full of comic books, graphic novels, related art, photographs and other memorabilia, this is a fun show but also very informative.

But this is not just a tribute to an amazing segment in the history of comic books and cartoon art, but also to the creators and fans of these products. There is a wall here chock full of photographs of people who have attended past Comic Conventions for Black comic arts, and one photo features a man wearing a "Black Nerds Unite" t-shirt. 

Among the excellent pieces here are several issues of Golden Legacy comics, featuring luminaries such as Frederick Douglass and Joseph Cinque; panels of the syndicated cartoon strip Wee Pals, which features kids of various races and ethnicities; copies of Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer, and much more.

An adjoining room showcases copies of several comics and graphic books for visitors to peruse, which I enjoyed thumbing through.

Some of the most interesting pieces here were about the comic book Torchy Brown, a female Black superhero, created by one of earliest female African American cartoon artists, Jackie Ormes. Her story is well worth exploring further.

And there is kitsch value here too, such as the comic spread of Superman and the boxer Muhammad Ali shaking hands.

When tourists come to visit Harlem, they often think of checking out famous locales such as the Apollo Theater, soul food eateries such as Sylvia's and Amy Ruth's, grand churches, parks and more. But they should also stop by the Schomburg Center and take in the wonderful cultural offerings there. (And New Yorkers should also make their way over here too!)

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 9, 2022 21:04

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest