Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
Morrie Turner, an Oakland, Calif., native, was the youngest of four children. His father, a Pullman porter, and mother, a devout Christian, instilled in him the faith — faith in himself, faith in others, faith in his ability to be a comic strip artist. He began drawing cartoons in the fifth grade.
As a young man, he served a stint in the service during World War II, where he drew strips for military newspapers. Following his discharge, he juggled his comic strips with legal publications and work as a police clerk. Finally, in 1964, he wholeheartedly pursued his cartoon aspirations full-time, once again relying on his faith.
One life-changing honor was during the Vietnam War, when Turner was one of six cartoonist asked by the National Cartoonist Society to go Vietnam. Morrie spent 27 days on the front lines and in hospitals, drawing more than 3,000 caricatures of service people.
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.