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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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Table of Contents


1 Introduction 13 2 Genesis of a Magazine for the Children of the Sun 25 2.1 Educating Future Race Leaders: Du Bois and African-American Youth 25 2.2 Making Space for the Young in The Crisis: The “Children’s Number” 34 2.3 Preparatory Steps Towards the Publication of The Brownies’ Book 41 2.3.1 Inviting More Team Members on Board: The Roles of Jessie Fauset and Augustus Granville Dill 41 2.3.2 Getting Started: “The True Brownies” as Manifesto of The Brownies’ Book 49 2.4 The Birth of The Brownies’ Book: Synopsis of the First Issue 58 3 Taking Pride in Being Black: Strategies of Composing an African-American Children’s Magazine 87 3.1 Combining Forces: The Brownies’ Book as Collective Venture 87 3.1.1 The Contributors: Writers, Artists, and Photographers 88 3.1.2 The Audience 97 3.2 The Brownies’ Book as a Multifaceted Collage: A Descriptive Analysis 103 3.2.1 Incorporation of Different Genres: Written Contributions 104 Discursive Prose Contributions 106 The Sustaining Columns: “As the Crow Flies,” “The Judge,” and “Little People of the Month” 106 Letters to the Editor: “The Jury” and “The Grown-Ups’ Corner” 124 Biographies 134 Instructional Articles 137 Fictional Prose Contributions: Fantasy and Realistic Fiction 141 Lyrical Contributions: Poems 148 Dramatic Contributions: One-Act Plays 154 10 A Game Section for More Than Mere Entertainment: “Playtime” 158 3.2.2 Fostering the Arts: Pictorial and Photographic Contributions 161 3.2.3 The Role of Advertisement 173 3.3 Analysis of the Language: The Rhetoric of The Brownies’ Book 184 4...

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