Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance by African American Women
Bibliographies About People
Although this group has the fewest books, that is not a reflection of their importance. These books offer a selection of African American creators. These reference materials list works created by people, from those more well-known, to those who are less familiar. Notability is not related to the amount of works one is associated with. In contemporary art and literature, this remains the same. These people have positively influenced the lives of African American children; they have inspired future generations to make their own path.
Barbara Rollock, Library Administrator (African American, 1922-1992). Black authors and illustrators of children’s books: a biographical dictionary. Garland, 1992
Z1037 .R63 1992
Save for a collection of photos in the middle, this bibliography contains mostly text. A selection of the author’s books is included below their bibliography. Some authors have an abundance of books, while others only have one or two. Several authors are still active today.
Ora Williams, Bibliographer (African American, 1926-2009). American Black women in the arts and social sciences: a bibliographic survey. Scarecrow Press, Inc, 1973.
Z1361.N39 W56 1973
One might recognize Zora Neale Hurston, Aretha Franklin, and Coretta Scott King. But what about Fannie Coppin? Jane Edna Hunter? Some of these women are more notable than others. Regardless, they have positively impacted not only African Americans, their influence extends outside of their racial background. This is supported by the inclusion of works written about some women by unrelated scholars.
Bibliographies About Books
Many books for African Americans exist today; their purposes, themes, and audiences vary. Before the Harlem Renaissance, most books about African Americans were problematic at best. Following The Brownies’ book, more attention was given to accurately portraying African Americans. Most of the individuals who compiled the bibliographies are mothers, who expressed their frustration over the lack of finding appropriate books for their children.
Miles Jackson, Editor (African American, 1929-?). A bibliography of Negro history and culture for young readers. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.
This text aims to make students, teachers, and librarians aware of resources. Most of the reference material listed in this book is literature. They have also included audiovisual resources. With the advent of the internet, resources are easier to find. Although helpful, imagine having to rely on bibliographies alone to find information about African Americans. Then, compare that to the abundance of resources for Americans.
Dianne Johnson, Author (African American, ?). Telling tales: the pedagogy and the promise of African American literature for youth. Greenwood Press, 1990
PS153.N5 J64 1990
Johnson focuses on works and figures of the Harlem Renaissance, along with an African American woman’s picture books. Through analyzing these works, she attests that without adequate children’s literature, the results can be dire. Lack of empowerment, disinterest in reading, and racial discrimination are just a few of these consequences.
Bettye I. Latimer, Editor (African American, ?). Starting out right; choosing books about black people for young children, pre-school through third grade. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 1972.
An extensive annotated bibliography; Starting Out Right examines and reviews literature for African American children. This book was created by a group of African Americans educators. These women wanted to remedy the lack of children’s literature while dispelling existing literature plagued with harmful characteristics. Pencil markings suggest that those books were considered by previous owners. Any child could have read the books listed. Which ones received high praise or a scathing critique?
Michelle H. Martin, Author (African American, ?). Brown gold: milestones of African American children’s picture books, 1845-2002. Routledge, 2004.
PS153.N5 M2628 2004
Books about African Americans are examined through a 150-year period. Unfortunately, until the 1960s, most literature written about African Americans was patronizing at best. The illustrations of the earlier books that Martin discusses speak louder than words. At times, they are more harmful than the text. Several pages show graphic and racist caricatures of African Americans in children’s books. Although difficult to look at, they are important in learning about the history of Black people in America.
Donna Rand, Author (African American, ?), Toni Trent Parker, Author (African American, ?), Sheila Foster, Author (African American, ?). Black books galore!: guide to great African American children's books. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1998.
E185 .R33 1998
Quotes, book covers, and creator biographies wade in a sea of book recommendations. Determined to provide books for their children and others, the women compiled this list during the late 1990s. Most of the books are recent, due to the rise of African American artists and authors. Only a few Harlem Renaissance creators are listed in the book. At the time, focus was directed towards contemporary writers.
Katharine Capshaw Smith, Author (American, 1968 -). Children’s literature of the Harlem Renaissance. Indiana University Press, 2004.
PS153.N5 S62 2004
of literature during this movement and the impact it had on future generations is discussed in detail. Children’s literature by women is generally overlooked; authors are mentioned in passing or they are ignored in favor of men. Publishing books seemed to be difficult for women who did not have access to Harlem.
Ethelene Whitmire, Author (African American, 1968-). Regina Anderson Andrews: Harlem Renaissance librarian. University of Illinois Press, 2014
Z720.A63 W48 2014
During the Harlem Renaissance, African American librarianship increased. Andrews was one of many women who became librarians. This book is an overview of her life and career; it also provides commentary on the lifestyles of other African American women. Some librarians, although not as famous as the writers, influencers, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance, had just as big of an impact. What better way to help children find Black inclusive literature than to work in a library?