Before Charles Johnson found fame as a novelist and won the National Book Award for Middle Passage
in 1991, he was a cartoonist, and a very good one. Taught via mail correspondence course by the comics editor Lawrence Lariar, mentored by the New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti, and inspired by the call of poet Amiri Baraka to celebrate and depict Black life in America, Johnson crafted some of the fiercest and funniest cartoons of the twentieth century. This collection brings together work from across his career: college newspaper gags, selections from his books Black Humor
and Half-Past Nation Time
, his unpublished manuscript Lumps in the Melting Pot
, and uncollected pieces.