In 1965, the year of the Watts riots and the murder of Malcolm X, and goaded by Charles Schulz, Oaklands Morrie Turner unveiled Wee Pals, the first fully integrated comic strip. (Turner had asked Schulz why nobody put minorities in comics, and Schulz gave him the look: Do it yourself.) Newspaper editors, however, waffled: Though Turner had drawn comics for years, even for Stars and Stripes during his stint in World War II, only a few papers published the strip. Within months of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., however, Wee Pals took off, soon appearing in more than 100 newspapers, and Turners dream of a world with less prejudice came true, at least for readers of the funnies. The AfroSolo Arts Festival celebrates the Oakland native with the exhibit Morrie Turner, Creator of Wee Pals Cartoon: A 45-Year Retrospective, curated by Kheven LaGrone, at the Main Library through Oct. 15.
Aug. 12-Oct. 15, 2009