Morris "Morrie" Turner (born December 11, 1923) is the first nationally syndicated African-American cartoonist. Raised in Oakland, California, where he still resides, Turner is the creator of comic strip Wee Pals. He grew up in West Oakland and attended McClymonds High School; in his senior year, he moved to Berkeley to finish his high school years at Berkeley High School. When he began questioning why there were no minorities in cartoons, his mentor, Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame, suggested he create one. In 1965, the strip Wee Pals became the first comic strip syndicated in the United States to have a cast of diverse ethnicity. In 2003, the National Cartoonist Society recognized him for his work on this strip and others with Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Turner, who prefers going by the name Morrie, also contributes his talents to concerts by the Bay Area Little Symphony of Oakland, California. He draws pictures to the music and of children in the audience.
Turner has the original copy of the book Wee Pals which was burned in a house fire at his home in Berkeley. The fire was 25 years ago and the house has been rebuilt.
On May 25, 2009, Turner visited Westlake Middle School in Oakland to give a lesson to the OASES Comic Book Preachers Class of drawing. Turner collaborated with the students of the class to create the book Wee The Kids from Oakland, which gives a chance for students to express their challenges, successes and pride as youth in Oakland.
Morris' wife Letha died in 1994.
- Jesse Hamlin (2009-09-13). "Wee Pals retrospective at S.F. library". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Wee Pals by Morrie Turner - examples of his comics, a biography, and a contact form
- Morrie Turner Collection - original artwork
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