Honoring A LegendThe Museum Of UnCut Funk is honored to exhibit some of the early work of the legendary cartoonist Morrie Turner. The Museum Of UnCut Funk recently interviewed Mr. Turner about his career, body of work and legacy. Our interview with Morrie Turner is forthcoming. In the meantime, we were able to find some Morries’ work from such historical magazines as Negro Digest aka Black World, a Johnson Publishing Company property. We hope you enjoy this sampling of Morrie Turner’s work.
Morrie Turner is a self-taught artist who began drawing as a child and did cartoons for Army newspapers while serving in World War II with the all-Black 477th Bomber group – stationed in the South. Although Morrie was a grounds men he was a part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. You see that in the cartoons he published in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s in Negro Digest, Black World and Ebony magazines. One cartoon, from the ’50s, depicts a Black woman perusing three white guys in a police lineup: one tall and skinny, one squat and bald, the third with a mop of hair. “I don’t know!” she says. “They all look alike to me!”
Two decades later, Black World ran a Turner cartoon showing an Afro-haired dude in a dashiki and shades sipping sparkling wine at an uptown cocktail party. A gushing older white woman tells him, “Say something in soul!” Turner eyes it, smiles and says, “That still makes me laugh.” Whatever he draws, he says, “It has to be real. And funny. I don’t think anybody would remember it unless it’s funny. You make ’em laugh, then you make ’em think. They might even change their mind.”
You can read more about Morrie Turners 1970’s cartoon series Kid Power here.