Little Black Sambo and the Complicated History of African American Children's Books

December 13, 2008

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Michelle Martin

Recorded as part of the "American Identity in Children's Literature Symposium", four scholars discuss the development of ethnic or multicultural children's literature, which seeks to diversify the all-white world of children's literature. Presentations were drawn from their respective specialties of Jewish, Latino, American Indian, and African American children's books to address such issues as authenticity, audience, self-esteem, and presentations of social conflict and cultural differences that make this field so important and so contested.

Michelle Martin is an Associate Professor of English at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, where she teaches courses in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Women's Literature. She is the author of Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Childrens Picture Books, 1845-2002 (Routledge, 2004) and co-editor with Claudia Nelson of Sexual Pedagogies: Sex Education in Britain, Australia, and America, 1879-2000 (Palgrave, 2003). Her current research project, Dream Keepers for Children of the Sun: The Children's Literature of Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, will offer a critical analysis of the children's texts of these two well-known authors - a substantial body of literature that has been underappreciated and excluded from both the African American and Children's Literature canons.


Also recorded as part of this event:
Debbie Reese -"Indians as Artifacts: How Images of Indians Are Used to Nationalize America's Youth"
Michelle Martin - "Little Black Sambo and the Complicated History of African American Children's Books"
Phillip Serrato - "Trying to Forget Pedro and Juanita: The Emergence of Chicano/a Children's Literature"

 

Recorded Saturday, December 13, 2008 at The Newberry Library.