Tuesday, February 21, 2012
American African History Life
Note the title, please. February is officially African-American History Month; consider this my small contribution.
He was an American first; according to Wikipedia: "born in a light-skinned, Creole African American family in New Orleans. Both of his parents were listed as "mullato" in the 1880 census."
His family moved to Los Angeles to get away from the 'Jim Crow" laws of the South.
His name was George Herriman, artist and poet, creator of "Krazy Kat" and illustrator of many books, including "Archy and Mehitabel " by Don Marquis (who is a story and two thirds in his own right-another time).
Herriman succeeded at his craft, drawing and writing Kat for decades. He was a black man making his own way in the world-his talent opening the doors to Success. He didn't wait for a Movement to declare his rights-he simply lived. Towards the end of his life, arthritis took the pen out of his hand-he would use a knife to cut shapes and designs-his public, those who loved Krazy Kat understood and accepted the more chaotic art.
I've had one of Herriman's "Kat" books for over 30 years, another one closing in on 20.
I encourage you to seek out Herriman's works, especially the Kat, and see genius expressing itself through an art form long gone from our world today.