Jim Crow Indianapolis Star 1

Beginning in 1904 an interesting feature of Indianapolis Star front page weather reports for decades was the associated editorial cartoon featuring the character "Jim Crow," evidence of the racist behavior of most white Americans, government and society in general during the pre-civil rights movement era. Jim Crow was an everyday term for laws at the national, state and local level that promoted the "separate but equal" philosophy in the treatment of American citizens.
The fact of that the Indianapolis Star took up such a fictional character as its mascot is less an indictment of that specific publication than a commentary on the pervasive insensitivity of white Americans throughout much of the country's history. The name of this character was eventually altered to "Joe Crow" but survived into the 1960's and then was eventually eliminated altogether.
The creator in 1904 of the Jim Crow cartoon was Johnny Gruelle who was best known as the creator of the children's play doll Raggedy Ann. Gruelle worked as a cartoonist for several publications aside from the Star during what was a prolific career partially fueled by the energy of anger that resulted from the early death of his daughter at age 13. He was the son of the highly regarded American Impressionist painter Richard Gruelle. Father Richard was one of the famed Hoosier Group of artists of the late 19th Century.
Johnny Gruelle created the Jim Crow cartoon character but quickly handed it off to Homer McKee who drew the images in these attachments. McKee did it for a number of years and eventually established an advertising agency that would launch the career of the iconic ad man Leo Burnett. The Jim Crow character passed through the pen and ink of several artists in subsequent decades. This particular cartoon was published September 9, 1906 and marked the beginning of a 23 day vacation for McKee. Guest cartoonists filled in for him while he was absent.

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