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«The Brownies’ Book»: Inspiring Racial Pride in African-American Children


Christina Schäffer

‘The Brownies’ Book:’ Inspiring Racial Pride in African-American Children offers a descriptive analysis and interpretation of America’s first magazine for young African-Americans. Published by W.E.B. Du Bois in cooperation with Jessie Fauset and Augustus Granville Dill, the monthly hoped to foster a new African-American identity by (re)connecting «the children of the sun» with Africa, by turning them into proud Americans, and by educating them to be global citizens. The editors turned the crow into a positive symbol of blackness and provided photographs which proved that «black is beautiful» to increase the self-esteem of black youths. The magazine was a harbinger of the Harlem Renaissance and served as a creative outlet for many African-American writers and artists, among them many women.


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Many people helped me to write this book, and they deserve thanks for their assistance. First and foremost, I am deeply indebted to my dissertation advisor Prof. Winfried Herget for his time and his unflagging support of this project. His valuable advice guided me at every stage of composition. I also owe much to Dr. Dieter Küster for his insightful comments and his words of encouragement and to Rosemarie Koehler who first awakened my interest in American Studies. Thank you also to Dr. habil. Margit Peterfy, Prof. Andreas Solbach, Juniorprof. Nicole Waller, and Prof. Mita Banerjee for joining my dissertation committee. I am grateful to the Landesgraduiertenförderung Rheinland Pfalz and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for their generous support which enabled me to devote my full attention to this project and made my research at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at Amherst, MA possible. Many kind librarians helped me with my research. Specifically, I want to say thank you to Danielle Kovacs, curator of manuscripts at the Special Collection and University Archives at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, and the staff of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for their unfailing skill and courtesy. I also want to thank Daniel P. De Simone, Rosenwald curator at the Library of Congress, who saw to it that I could work with their original copy of The Brownies’ Book, and the staff of the Library of Congress for helping me with me research. I am...

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