Charles Johnson Papers

Charles Johnson is a prolific writer, philosopher, educator, and cartoonist whose foundational interests are in “that place where fiction and philosophy—both Eastern and Western—meet.” Johnson worked for several publications such as the Chicago Tribune and Ebony during his time as a cartoonist. He published his first book, Black Humor (1970), a comic collection of racial and political satire, at age 22. Johnson’s social, political, and philosophical outlooks are all strong themes in his work.

The page has a photo of a 21-year old Charles Johnson alongside a short biography with six panels of Johnson's cartoons underneath.
An editorial biography of Charles Johnson published in the Chicago Tribune Magazine introducing his first book of cartoons, Black Humor.

The Charles Johnson Papers hold both published and unpublished work from the author spanning nearly six decades. The collection brings together manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, artwork, and ephemera and serves as a testament to Johnson’s wide-ranging career as a public intellectual.

For more details on the 2022 Charles Johnson The Magic in His Hands exhibition, please see the Center for Humanities’ The Magic in His Hands: Charles Johnson’s Artistic Versatility article.

Access these Materials

Processing of the Charles Johnson Papers is currently underway. They will be included in the Modern Literature Collection and the collections of the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library.

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