White Supremacy in Children's Literature: Characterizations of African Americans, 1830-1900

By Donnarae MacCann | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
A study of the white supremacy myth is not an antiquarian exercise. In April of 1987, a grand jury indicted fifteen individuals for alleged criminal actions associated with white supremacist beliefs. Each person was affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nations—groups implicated in the “killing of blacks, Jews, Federal officials, [and] journalists…,” and committed to creating an all-White nation in the northwest corner of the United States (See Wayne King “10 Named in a Plot to Overthrow U.S.,” New York Times, 25 Apr. 1987, sec. 1, pp. 1, 9; “Indictments charge plot against U.S.,” Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA] 25 Apr. 1987, sec. 1, 1, 11). George M. Fredrickson mentions in White Supremacy: A Comparative Study of American and South African History (1981) that the state motto of Alabama proclaimed a white supremacist philosophy until recent times.
2.
Gene Wise, American Historical Explanation: A Strategy for Grounded Inquiry (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1980), 36, 37.
3.
This approach is not entirely new. Parts of it can be seen in the 1929 study by Lorenzo Dow Turner, Anti-Slavery Sentiment in American Literature Prior to 1865 (Washington, DC: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc., 1929); and in another study of adult literature by John R. Cooley, Savages and Naturals: Black Portraits by White Writers in Modern American Literature (Cranbury, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1982). Other parts of the model have already been developed in the field of children’s literature—for example, in R. Gordon Kelly’s Mother Was a Lady: Self and Society in Selected American Children’s Periodicals, 1865-1890 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974); and in Anne Scott MacLeod’s A Moral Tale: Children’s Fiction and American Culture, 1820-1860 (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1975).
4.
Malcolm Cowley, “Criticism: A Many-Windowed House,” Saturday Review (12 August 1961), 11.
5.
Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966), 56.
6.
R. Gordon Kelly, Mother Was a Lady: Self and Society in Selected American Children’s Periodicals, 1865-1890 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974), xvii.
7.
See Roger Lancelyn Green, “The Golden Age of Children’s Books,” in Only Connect: Headings on Children’s Literature, 2nd ed., ed. Sheila Egoff, et al. (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1980), 1-16.
8.
The Council on Interracial Books for Children was founded by writers, librarians, teachers, and parents to promote antiracist and antisexist books and teaching materials. It carries out this function by analyzing forms of bias and suggesting alternative resources; until the mid-1980s it published consciousness-raising articles in Interracial Books for Children Bulletin. It also published lesson plans and audiovisual materials at its Racism and Sexism Resource Center for Educators, and conducts workshops and conferences designed to combat racism and sexism.
9.
Joyce A. Ladner, ed., The Death of White Sociology (New York: Random House, 1973).
10.
E. Franklin Frazier, “The Failure of the Negro Intellectual,” in The Death of White Sociology, ed. Joyce A. Ladner (New York: Random House, 1973), 58.
11.
Ronald W. Walters, “Toward a Definition of Black Social Science,” in The Death of White Sociology, ed. Joyce A. Ladner (New York: Random House, 1973), 196.
12.
Ibid., 212.
13.
Nathan Hare, “The Challenge of a Black Scholar,” in The Death of White Sociology, ed. Joyce A. Ladner (New York: Random House, 1973), 73-74.
14.
Donald Dunlop, “Popular Culture and Methodology,” Journal of Popular Culture 9 (Fall 1975): 26.
15.
Arna Bontemps, “Ole Sis Goose,” in The American Negro Writer and His Roots (New York: American Society of African Culture, 1960), 51-52.

-xxxii-

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White Supremacy in Children's Literature: Characterizations of African Americans, 1830-1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • A Note on Usage xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Notes xxxii
  • Part One - The Antebellum Years 1
  • Chapter One - Ambivalent Abolitionism 3
  • Chapter Two - Sociopolitical and Artistic Dimensions of Abolitionist Tales 25
  • Chapter Three - Personal and Institutional Dimensions 47
  • Part Two - The Postbellum Years 81
  • Chapter Four - Children’s Fiction 83
  • Notes 118
  • Chapter Five - The Social/Political Context 123
  • Chapter Six - Literary Lives 155
  • Notes 182
  • Chapter Seven - Postwar Institutions 185
  • Chapter Eight - Literary Methods and Conventions 211
  • Chapter Nine - Conclusion 233
  • Bibliography 243
  • Index 261
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