Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Alumni in Your Sunday Comics Section

January 30th, 2007 by Ajuan Mance

Why does Serena Williams’ stunning victory over top seed Maria Sharapova make me think of Black comic artists? Because, like the Serena Williams and other athletes, African American artists comprise another group of Black achievers whose success is often ascribed to natural ability rather than hard work, carefully honed skill, and intellectual prowess.

What better grouping of artists to focus on than the ones you might encounter on the funny pages of your local newspaper. This list of prominent African American comic artists should serve as a reminder that while careers in the visual arts may well begin with innate talent, success is most often the result of a combination of hard work, creativity, intelligence, and education.

Hats off to these witty and talented pioneers in the comic art field:

Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks.

  • Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • First debuted his strip in The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper.

Keith Knight, creator of The K Chronicles, and one half of the alternative rap duo, The Marginal Prophets.

  • Graduated from Salem State College in Massachusetts in 1990, with a degree in Graphic Design.
  • First debuted his strip in 1985, in his college newspaper, The Salem State Log.

Robb Armstrong, creator of Jump Start.

  • Graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Fine Arts.

Barbara Brandon-Croft, creator of the now defunct Where I’m Coming From, and the first African American woman to draw a nationally syndicated comic strip.

  • Graduated in 1980 from Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.

…and since I’m already writing about the comics section of the paper, I might as well mention Timothy Parker, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most syndicated puzzle compiler, and the crossword editor at USA Today. Click here for samples of his crossword skill.

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, and is currently working on an MBA from the same institution.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Aaron McGruder, African American, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Crossword, Current Events, Higher Education, Jump Start, Keith Knight, My Favorite Blogs, Robb Armstrong, The Boondocks, The K Chronicles, Timothy Parker, Where I'm Coming From

One Response

  1. Tanya Anderson

    How brilliant that an African-American man is so skilled at crosswords that he is in charge of the crossword in American’s most widely circulated newspaper. I am proud of him.