Children of the Sun: W.E.B. Du Bois, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and The Brownies’ Book (1920-21)

Tuesday, 5 July, 2016 - 12:00

WISER and the School of Literature, Language and Media invite you to a talk by Madhumita Lahiri

5 July 2016, 12:00 in the WISER Seminar Room

This talk explores the development of internationalism as a rhetoric of moral guidance for children of color in the early twentieth century, focusing on the first publication intended primarily for African American children, The Brownies’ Book. Edited by Jessie Redmon Fauset and W.E.B. Du Bois, The Brownies’ Book operated as a year-round extension of the NAACP journal, The Crisis, which was also edited by them during that time. Whereas The Crisis’ Children’s Numbers interwove political news with children’s literature, The Brownies’ Book provided an ostensibly child-safe version of all events, yet it did so by weaving the textures of political life into an emphatically global narrative of colored children’s uplift. By presenting role models and inspiring heroes from places such as the Philippines, Japan, and India, and by using much of the periodical to publish children’s letters from all over the world,The Brownies’ Book, I argue, envisaged and instantiated a “children’s international” among the darker youth of the world, one which operated in parallel and in concert with the internationalisms of adults during the same period.