Katharine Capshaw Smith is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches children’s literature and African American literature. Her work has appeared in Children’s Literature; Southern Quarterly; The Lion and the Unicorn; Melus: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States; Ariel; and other publications.
Children's Literature of the Harlem Renaissanceby Katharine Capshaw Smith
The New Negro Renaissance, the period associated with the flowering of the arts in Harlem, inaugurated a tradition of African American children's literature, for the movement's central writers made youth both their subject and audience. W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, Langston Hughes, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and other Harlem Renaissance figures took an impassioned interest in the literary models offered to children, believing that the "New Negro" would ultimately arise from black youth. As a result, African American children's literature became a crucial medium through which a disparate community forged bonds of cultural, economic, and aesthetic solidarity. This book explores the period's vigorous exchange about the nature and identity of black childhood and uncovers the networks of African American philosophers, community activists, schoolteachers, and literary artists who worked together to transmit black history and culture to the next generation.
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