By Michelle Martin
Brown Gold is a compelling heritage and research of African-American kid's picturebooks from the mid-nineteenth century to the current. on the flip of the 19th century, sturdy kid's books approximately black existence have been demanding to discover ― if, certainly, younger black readers and their mom and dad may even achieve access into the bookstores and libraries. yet this present day, within the "Golden Age" of African-American kid's picturebooks, you'll find a wealth of titles starting from Happy to be Nappy to Black is Brown is Tan. during this ebook, Michelle Martin explores how the style has advanced from difficult early works similar to Epaminondas that have been rooted in minstrelsy and stereotype, in the course of the civil rights flow, and onward to modern celebrations of blackness. She demonstrates the cultural value of up to date favorites via willing ancient research ― scrutinizing the toughness and proliferation of the Coontown sequence and Ten Little Niggers books, for instance ― that makes transparent how few picturebooks existed during which black teenagers may well see themselves and their humans absolutely represented even up till the Nineteen Sixties. Martin additionally explores how kid's authors and illustrators have addressed significant matters in black existence and heritage together with racism, the civil rights stream, black feminism, significant ancient figures, faith, and slavery. Brown Gold provides new intensity to the reader's realizing of African-American literature and tradition, and illuminates how the around, dynamic characters in those kid's novels, novellas, and picturebooks can placed a face at the prior, a face with which many modern readers can identify.
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Additional resources for Brown Gold: Milestones of African American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002 (Children's Literature and Culture)
But all of her illustrations—those of her family and friends, as well as those in the books she wrote and illustrated—were caricatures. Hay notes that if given the chance, Bannerman would have been a much better cartoonist than she was an artist and she further argues that though they are caricatures, Bannerman’s characters are not stereotypes. “A stereotype is something constantly repeated without change, a character without humanity” (158). This definition certainly describes the nameless, silhouetted Black-a-moor and his tormentors, but it does not describe Sambo, who displays wit, intelligence, and savvy in his repeated encounters with antagonists who could eat him if they chose.
Their position alongside “Hickory, Dickory Dock” and other counting songs reveals how integral these stereotypes of black people were to the fabric of white society in the early 1900s (figs. 11 32 Brown Gold Fig. 9. Reprinted by permission from Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Nursery Numbers. London: Frederick Warne, 1901. Claude Kempson’s 1903 oversized picture book, The Sad End of Erica’s Blackamoor, provides an intriguing look at how attitudes toward blackness got translated into literature for children during this era, and how ideas about Africans that came out of British children’s books got superimposed onto African Americans and surfaced in American children’s texts about black Americans (fig.
Despite the plot twists and interesting asides that Kempson incorporates into this story in an effort to entertain his young audience, it, like all of the Ten Little Niggers stories up until this time, still results in the destruction of the black male figure. The Sad End of Erica’s Blackamoor further reiterates how limited depictions of blackness were at the beginning of the twentieth century and illustrates how comfortable British and American audiences were with the fictional and systematic destruction of black characters that picture books such as this one dramatized.