Wednesday, January 29, 2014

OBITUARIES



Two obituaries in Wednesday’s Times should be of interest to those in the black community who routinely label anyone of different ethnic background  if they complain about a ‘African-American” as racist.

Those of us who lived through the Civil Rights era remember that the song “We Shall Overcome” was the rallying song of the movement. However, does everyone know that the tune as we know it was written by a white Folk Singer; Pete Seeger.

I am sure that like me none of you ever heard of Morrie Turner who also passed away on the 28th at the age of 90.

Morrie was black. He served in the US Army in WWII with the famous Black Fighter group the 332nd also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He was a staff clerk, journalist, and illustrator on that group’s newspaper.

After the war he worked as a clerk for the Oakland CA police. He also sold industrial illustrations and cartoons to such national publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Ebony, and the “Negro Digest”

In the early 60s he and Charles Schulz the creator of “Peanuts” became fast friends and the later persuaded Morrie to create a strip which received scant syndicated acceptation until King’s assassination. Then the strip took off.

What was unique about this comic strip “Wee Pals” is that it consisted of five characters: a diminutive African-American boy, Nipper, who always wore a Confederate cap that covered the front of his face; a freckled-faced Jewish boy, Jerry; a black boy, Diz “permanently arrayed in in dashiki and sun glasses, and a white boy who had racists parents whom he parroted, but accepted his friends reproofs good naturedly. There was also an Asian boy, whose name I do not know, in the strip.

Mr. Turner used the strip to point out that different ethnic groups can co-exist normally if desired.

According to the Times; when a reader scolded him for the Confederate cap Nipper wore and he should get to know some black people; Morrie replied “I happen to know two black people---my mother and my father”.

In reply to an interviewer about the meaning of the “cap” he said after some reflection “Forgiveness”

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2 comments:

  1. I have heard of and am familiar with the thought provoking strip. I did not however know of his passing.

    D. Scott Belin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Doc. Awe inspiring and a good reminder for all of us.

    ReplyDelete