The Museum Of UnCut Funk is always looking for new and creative ways to celebrate Black History Month. We hope you’ll enjoy our endeavor to find new aspects of our history to highlight.
Fred Ellis was an editorial cartoonist. He is best remembered as one of the leading radical artists of the 1920s and 1930s as an artist for various publications of the Communist Party. In 1919 Fred Ellis became familiar with a new weekly magazine published by the Chicago Federation of Labor called The New Majority. He began his career as a cartoonist, submitting his first political art to The New Majority.
Prominent communist labor leader William Z. Foster was the circulation manager of The New Majority at this time, and it was through him that Ellis made contact with the Workers Party of America, which he joined in 1924. Ellis drew extensively for the Communist movement from 1923 onward, contributing material to The Daily Worker, The Liberator, The Labor Herald, and other publications. The Museum Of UnCut Funk became interested in Fred’s work when we researched his political drawings of the Black experience that were featured in serval publications.
Fred Ellis died in 1965. His papers are held by Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The material includes more than 250 original cartoons, a sketchbook with more than 200 sketches, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other material.