Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cartoonist stood up for 'the little guy in society'

Above you see an example of the work of Chester Commodore something I took out of a gallery of images provided by the Sun-Times with this article. I chose this cartoon to highlight the fact that the segregation that existed in the south when many blacks moved from down south for the idea of better opportunity up north faced more segregation when they came to Chicago and perhaps other cities in the north. The legacy of this still exists in Chicago where there isn't a lot of integration in the neighborhoods or schools in the city. Another legacy the CHA highrises around the city where many poor blacks were housed for many years are being torn down. As you can see there is a lot to chew on in this article:
One of Chicago's most beloved cartoonists was a man named Chester Commodore.

His work depicted pols and celebs, poked fun at famous folks' foibles and took on heavy issues of the day with a searing sense of irony and humor that was often rooted in tragedy. Many of his cartoons appeared in Accent, a Sunday magazine that used to run in the Chicago Defender newspaper.

His work, along with other related memorabilia, is on display at the Carter G. Woodson Library, 9525 S. Halsted, as part of a free exhibit called "Chester Commodore, 1914-2004: Work and Life of a Pioneering Cartoonist of Color." The exhibit runs through Dec. 31.

"He turned out to be an extraordinarily influential man," says Michael Flug, senior archivist at the library's Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.

"His cartoons were reprinted very widely in magazines and newspapers across the country. They appeared in documentary films. And I think it's because he had a sense of standing up for what he called the little guy in society."

The exhibit includes a smiling caricature of himself (the only one he ever drew) and a popular comic strip called "Bungleton Green."

But it also shows work depicting more serious subjects: lynching victims ignored by the FBI, justice unserved in Black Panther leader Fred Hampton's murder, the manacles of school segregation symbolically shattered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case.
I haven't been to Woodson in a while perhaps I might go over there and visit so that I can have a look at this exhibit.

1 comment:

Cal Skinner said...

I heard once that the high rises would never have been built if Bob Taft had not died so early.

He was apparently on a Senate committee that control over housing and did not believe in concentrating poor people's housing.

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