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Finding aid for the Morrie Turner Papers
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends.The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup.
Background
Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. Turner attended Oakland public schools including Cole Elementary and McClymonds High School before transferring to Berkeley High in his senior year. After graduation he joined the Air Force, where he had his first opportunity to draw a comic strip called “Rail Head” for Stars and Stripes magazine. After leaving the military he returned to Berkeley and married his sweetheart Letha. The couple have lived and raised their family in Berkeley ever since. Turner’s first civilian comic strip “Dinky Fellas” was modeled after his mentor Charles “Sparky” Schultz. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends. The comic strip made Turner the first African American cartoonist to be nationally syndicated. Turner and the “Wee Pals” gave back to the community by working with organizations including: the USO, The Boys Club of Oakland, and the White House Conference on Children. The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup. In addition to his love of drawing Turner has been committed to raising awareness of African American history. In 1965 Turner became one of the founding members of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS).
Extent
5.5 linear feet (4 boxes + 2 oversized)
Restrictions
Permission to publish must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.
Availability
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.