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

By Donnarae MacCann | Go to book overview

Preface

Assembling materials from different fields is an effort to deepen understanding of complex subjects. It is the method of American studies, the discipline that shaped the present project. Specifically, I have tried to keep nineteenth-century portrayals of Blacks and pertinent facets of social history in the same range of vision. I have looked at the white supremacist civilization that produced a white supremacist children’s literature, and documented the ideology of white racism as formulated for young reading audiences.

My work on this subject was compelled by the conviction that social history is knowable and that social understanding is malleable and potentially progressive. But the record must be laid bare in clear and specific terms. In endeavoring to achieve this clarity, I have been aided by members of the University of Iowa academic community.

In particular I want to extend thanks to those who helped with the dissertation on which this book is based. I owe an endless debt to the late Jonathan W. Walton Jr.—my primary teacher in the field of African American history and the chairperson of my dissertation committee until his sudden passing just months before the work’s completion. Dr. Walton was a person of extraordinary character and spirit, a dedicated scholar, an inspiration to his students. He renewed in me an enthusiasm for historical research and continually revitalized my faith in the interdisciplinary American studies process.

Professors Kathleen Tessmer, Albert Stone, and the late Darwin Turner were invaluable as editorial advisers, content experts, and teachers. Dr. Robert Weems was kind enough to join my committee after Dr. Walton’s passing, and I much appreciated his participation

-ix-

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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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