Tom Feelings

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Tom Feelings
Born May 19, 1933
Brooklyn, New York
Died August 25, 2003(2003-08-25) (aged 70)
Mexico
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist, illustrator
Notable works
Tommy Traveler In the World of Negro History
To Be a Slave
The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo
Awards Caldecott Medal, 1972, 1975
Coretta Scott King Award, 1996

Tom Feelings (19 May 1933 – 25 August 2003) was a cartoonist, children's book illustrator, author, teacher, and activist. Through his works, he framed the African-American experience. His most famous book is The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo.

Biography[edit]

Feelings was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended the School of the Visual Arts, and later lived in Ghana and Guyana. He was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.[citation needed]

His earliest known (signed) comic book work may be the story "Scandal" in Key Publication's in Key Publication's third issue of Radiant Love (February 1953).

A skilled cartoonist, Feelings created the groundbreaking comic strip Tommy Traveler In the World of Negro History for the New York Age in 1958 after leaving the Air Force. Based on his own experience after discovering the adult section of the public library while researching a school project, Tommy Traveler is a black youth's dream adventures in American history while reading of notable black heroes. This material was released in book form in 1991.

In about 1960 Feelings illustrated the NAACP's four-color comic for voter registration, The Street Where You Live. Another early piece was for Look magazine, doing portraits of children in New Orleans in 1962.

Around 1968 he met Bertram Fitzgerald and he became one of the first contributors to Fitzgerald's new line of black history comics with the umbrella title Golden Legacy. According to Fitzgerald,[citation needed] at this time Feelings had done a previous biography of Crispus Attucks, the first casualty of the American Revolution, which was adapted into the Golden Legacy series. (This may have been the 1968 Nobel Heritage publication, which shows some stylistic similarities to Feelings' art, but if so, it seems to have been inked by someone else.)[citation needed]

From the late 1960s through the 1990s, Feelings concentrated on children's books, illustrating other authors' works as well as writing his own. Notable titles included To Be a Slave (written by Julius Lester), Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book, Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book, and The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo.

Feelings died in Mexico in 2003.

Awards[edit]

To Be a Slave was a 1969 Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, the School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year, and the Smithsonian Best Book of the Year. It was given a 1970 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.

Feelings was a 1972 Caldecott Medal Honor recipient for his book Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book.

He was a 1974 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for his picture book Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book. Jambo Means Hello was also 1975 Caldecott Medal Honor recipient.

Feelings' book The Middle Passage won the 1996 Coretta Scott King Award. In addition, it won a special commendation at the 1996 Jane Addams Children's Book Award ceremonies.

References[edit]


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