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At 89, First Nationally Syndicated Black Cartoonist Still Drawing And Giving Back

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WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – He sketched his way into the history books, now this famous cartoonist is sharing his gift of art with local kids.

Morrie Turner is the first nationally syndicated African-American cartoonist. He’s also still drawing and giving back to the local community.

Turner is 89 and is still sharing his talent and sense of humor with comic lovers.

“I’m doing my own life history in comic book form and I’m having a wonderful time remembering. And some things are difficult to deal with,” said Turner.

It’s been quite the journey, He’s been sketching since he was 8.

“I was a big fan of the Peanuts and I wanted to do a comic strip like he did. He does the comic strips the way I feel comics should be done,” said Turner.

But here’s how Turner made history: sketching the first black comic strip ever.

“I was surprised because I didn’t think the metropolitan daily newspapers would be interested in anything black,” said Turner.

But they were, and Wee Pals made its debut in 1965 in Chicago. But that contract came with strict rules.

“There were very heavy restrictions on me. In fact, I got behind because they rejected so many strips,” said Turner.

And much to the surprise of the higher-ups, those strips would later be published.

“So I just whited out the dates and changed them like it was new stuff, and they used them,” said Turner.

Today Turner is still sharing his work. Now a handful of other black cartoonists are following his lead.

“I felt I had a responsibility being the very first one,” said Turner.

Now he’s giving back at his church, delivering this artwork to the children’s center, and still sketching and loving it.

“That’s what I get out of bed for. I keep getting new ideas and I’m still drawing,” said Turner.

Turner was raised in Oakland, but he now lives in West Sacramento.

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