Clint C. Wilson Sr., 90; Longtime L.A. Sentinel Editorial Cartoonist

Times Staff Writer

Clint C. Wilson Sr., the editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Sentinel for more than 45 years, has died. He was 90.

Wilson died Sunday of kidney failure, according to his son, Clint Wilson II, who said his father died at Hawthorne Convalescent Center in Hawthorne.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Sept. 22, 2005 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 22, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Wilson obituary -- The obituary of editorial cartoonist Clint C. Wilson Sr. in Wednesday’s California section referred to the late Carrie Gardner as Wilson’s wife of 54 years. The couple, who married in 1942, later divorced.

Using a lean drawing style, often adding shading for atmosphere, he took up local and national issues including affirmative action, gang violence and police brutality.


“I deal with the problems in the black community,” he said in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

A number of his cartoons are now archived at Howard University in Washington, D.C. One of them, from the years when Daryl F. Gates was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, shows a black man carrying a cross with the words “Police Brutality” on it.

Another from the 1990s shows Black Nationalist Marcus M. Garvey reading a newspaper in heaven.

“There is more to Africa than famine, disaster and war,” the headline declares. “I told you so,” Garvey says.

“His cartoons were humorous, but they struck at the heart of the matter from a black perspective,” said his son, a journalism professor at Howard University who has written extensively on the history of the black press.

Born in a log cabin in rural Texas and one of 16 children, Wilson was the son of a sharecropper. He planned his career at age 10 after seeing his first editorial cartoon in a local newspaper.

“I laughed and thought, ‘I can do this,’ ” Wilson told The Times in 1991.

A high school teacher encouraged his artistic talents and bought Wilson his first watercolor set. After high school he enrolled in a correspondence course for artists but dropped out before completing the two-year program -- tuition was $10 per month and he made only $20 a month at his job as a dishwasher in San Antonio.

He got his first full-time newspaper job in 1940 as a sports cartoonist for the San Antonio Register, a weekly newspaper for the black community, where he worked without pay.

“When my father started in the 1940s, there were very few black journalists at all,” his son said. “And they all worked in the black press.”

To support himself, Wilson worked as a janitor and chauffeur. He moved to Los Angeles in 1946 after a brief time in Oakland, where he worked as a cartoonist for an Army newspaper. He later worked on his cartoons after hours at his job at a bank.

The Sentinel named a new sports editor, A.S. Young, in 1956, and Young offered Wilson a job as a sports cartoonist.

“They must have hired me because they got tired of being pestered,” Wilson said. “I went back with cartoon after cartoon for 10 years.”

Soon after he joined the staff, Wilson was named the paper’s editorial cartoonist, where he remained until he retired in 2002.

During his long career at the Sentinel, the largest black weekly newspaper in the West, Wilson won numerous first place awards from the National Newspaper Publishers Assn., a federation of black community newspapers.

He was inducted into the Black Press Hall of Fame in 1990. Some of his work can be viewed at the organization’s website:

Wilson’s wife of 54 years, Carrie Gardner, died in 1996. Along with his son, he is survived by his second wife, Edna, of Los Angeles, and a grandchild, Clint Wilson III of Hawthorne.

Funeral services will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at Figueroa Church of Christ, 5614 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.