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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Jackie Ormes (1911–1985). Torchy in Heartbeats. "Evenin', Torchy" and "Torchy Togs." Published in Pittsburgh Courier (insert), August 4, 1951. Gift of Nancy Goldstein, 2010. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (011.00.00). Courtesy of Nancy Goldstein

Facing the Music

This strip from Torchy in Heartbeats focuses on the romance between title character "Torchy," and her gifted musician boyfriend Earl. Jackie Ormes demonstrates her well-honed skill in creating engaging characters, building drama, and advancing a story in this example of her fourth and last comic. Running from 1940–1954, it represents a refined revival of her first strip, "Torchy Brown in 'Dixie to Harlem,'" which ran between 1937–1938. In creating career-oriented, ground-breaking African American female characters, Ormes eased the way for successors. Like many peers, Ormes also produced character paper dolls to accompany her comic.