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

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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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7 Conclusion

Extract

If somewhere in this whirl and chaos of things there dwells Eternal Good, pitiful yet masterful, then anon in His good time America shall rend the Veil and the prisoned shall go free. Free, free as the sunshine trickling down the morning into these high windows of mine, free as yonder fresh young voices welling up to me from the caverns of brick and mortar below – swelling with song, instinct with life, tremulous treble and darkening bass. My children, my children, are singing to the sunshine, and thus they sing: Let us cheer the wea-ry trav-el-ler, Cheer the wea-ry trav-el-ler, Let us cheer the wea-ry trav-el-ler Along the heav-en-ly way, And the traveller girds himself, and sets his face toward the morning, and goes his way.1039 Du Bois deeply believed in the ability of African-American youth to lead their fellow black Americans, even the entire black race, into a promising future. For him, the Talented Tenth were at the forefront of this resistance. Since he believed that every child was a potential member of this group, who in particular were meant to use their intellectual capacities to guide their fellow African-Americans, Du Bois, the renowned intellectual, devoted his time and attention to the younger generation and their education, a fact which has been greatly neglected in Du Bois scholarship. He realized that to prepare young African-Americans for social activism and the campaign for civil rights for Blacks – starting in the United States and then, in the service of his great...

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