Proto-Zines and Narrative

Bill Ectric King

1922 – Norman Studios

Above: Norman Studios Historical Museum, Regeneration: Black Cinema, 1898-1971: The Race Films Gallery

From WPA Timeline Records: “Norman Studios begins operation, making feature-length films and shorts in which black actors star in non-minstrel roles, roles comparable to those played by white actors in other movies.”

Posters, programs, and playbills from movies may be seen as “proto-zines” in their ability to communicate narratives by using art, text, photographs, etc. (Bill Ectric King)

1929 – E. L. Weems

Above photo of E. L. Weems from

From WPA Timeline Records: “E. L. Weems, first licensed Black photographer in Jacksonville, opens his first studio, designing his own method of colorization before color film was invented. In business for nearly 50 years, Weems becomes the primary photographic chronicler of Black life in Jacksonville.”

1941 – A. Philip Randolph

Above: Mass meeting flyer. © A. Philip Randolph Institute, University of Maryland Labor in America Collection

From WPA Timeline Records: In his magazine Black Worker, A. Philip Randolph issues his “Call to Negro America to March on Washington” after meetings with several Civil Rights leaders, including Jacksonville’s Eartha White, in Chicago in 1940. Randolph’s call for a march results in his meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the end of legal racial discrimination in defense industries and the federal government and establishes Fair Employment Practices Commission.”

1953 – The Braves

From WPA Timeline Records: “The Jacksonville Braves along with the Savannah team break the color line when they hire three African American players: Hank Aaron, Horace Gamer, and Felix Mantilla. Attendance skyrocketing.”

End of Timeline