“Legendary cartoonist Morrie Turner’s “Wee Pals” Salutes African Americans in the Military Past and Present”

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Contact: Charles Blatcher, III, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, National Minority Military Museum Foundation   Telephone: 1-510-467-9242

 

(Photo Caption left: Final Inspection (Left to Right:) Nathan Turner, Matthew Revak, FolgerGraphic Prepress Manager, Charles Blatcher, III, Publisher and Morrie Turner, Jr.)

The family of the legendary cartoonist Morrie Turner announced the release of “Wee Pals The Kids Power Gang Salutes African Americans in the Military Past and Present.” Published by Golden Buffalo Publication, the book was created to educate and simultaneously entertain its youthful readers. (Knowledge cultivates Pride.) A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the publication will go to support the National Minority Military Museum Foundation. The release date is November 7th.

In a recent interview with Morrie, Jr., speaking of his Dad said, “One day I’ll go through all this stuff.”  “There’s just so much here, and every time I dig into something, I learn something new about him.” Morrie says there was never a time that his father wasn’t doodling or creating something on paper. His earliest memories are of his dad sitting with him while they watched TV, pen in hand and using a makeshift desk in his lap made from a cutting board.

Turner’s accomplishments as a cartoonist are myriad, yet he remained humble and focused on using his work to uplift youth. As “Wee Pals” took off, he used his celebrity to visit schools and encourage kids to believe in themselves and follow their dreams and talents.

Turner was so modest in fact, that his son didn’t even know he had been a member of the Tuskegee Airmen until he discovered it on his own. “He just always told me that he was in the Army Air Corp,” said Morrie.

Turner served as a clerk with the Airmen, having had the foresight to learn how to type in school — something few males did back then. But transgressing norms was something he embraced. “Wee Pals” was the first syndicated strip with diverse characters, and it featured a cast of kids of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and even included a character with a physical disability. They were known as the “Dinky Fellas.”

Turner was first and foremost an artist, but he was motivated to create the strip as a way to diversify the funny pages. His close friend Charles Schulz, creator of “Peanuts,” encouraged him to go for it.

“He wished that his strip wasn’t perceived as something new, different, and out of the ordinary,” said Morrie. “But he embraced the fact that he was able to do it. He utilized it as a platform. It gave him the opportunity to talk to kids.”

But connecting with youth was his primary joy. “He instilled the youth to move forward,” said Morrie. “He encouraged them to keep up with their education. You don’t want the door to be closed in your face. You should know that all doors are open.”

Morrie said that his father particularly enjoyed sharing black military history with kids, many of which had never had the opportunity to learn such things. “He felt like a lot of things were just lost, and he wanted to bring them out,” said Morrie. “He would say, ‘Yes, we had black pilots. Yes, we had black officers.’” He features all in his “Salute to African Americans in the Military.”

Turner’s life and work has touched many, and will continue to as more people learn about this amazing veteran, artist and educator. The National Minority Military Museum Foundation is honored to be selected to bring the publication to the public.

 

Order comic books for schools, organizations or collectors — send email to:  goldenbuffalo01@aol.com

or call via the following telephone number: 1-510-467-9242

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