Columbia Cartoonist Among First to Highlight Struggles of Black Americans

(TN Tribune)–Walt Carr, 88, of Columbia, has been drawing cartoons for some 50 years. Self-taught, he worked at the Social Security Administration as an illustrator in their art department.
“Ever since I ever picked up a pencil, I’ve been drawing or doodling. It has been a passion of mine,” Carr said.
He started a freelance cartooning career and contributed gag cartoons that had no connection to political commentary to Black publications.
“I was a longtime contributor to ‘Ebony’ magazine’s ‘Strictly for Laughs’ page, and of course, I had cartoons that appeared in ‘Playboy,’ ‘Players’ magazine, several other Black magazines that goes all the way back to the ‘Negro Digest,'” he said.
When he retired in 1993, he began his serious dive into editorial cartoons for Black papers. Some of his most recent editorial cartoons can be seen here.
“You never saw Black and brown people on the editorial pages of mainstream press unless it was something negative or catastrophic. You never saw the Black spin, the Black narrative, or our take on the Black condition in America,” Carr said.
So, he gave it a spin. Carr said the cartoons give him a chance to vent with visual images. He creates cartoons every week. Last November, one of his cartoons landed in The Washington Post.
“Hopefully, I can get a chuckle or laugh. I wish I could on every one, but because of some of the dire subject matter that I want to deal with, I can’t always find humor,” he said.
Carr has drawn about 1,700 cartoons over the years.
“I hope I have educated you or informed you or made you think, or perhaps even inspired you,” Carr said. “I don’t want to be known as a Black cartoonist, I’m just a cartoonist who happens to be Black.”
Carr has compiled a collection of some of his favorite cartoons in a book called “Just Us.”