White Supremacy in Children's Literature
Characterizations of African Americans, 1830-1900
Routledge – 2000 – 274 pages
This penetrating study of the white supremacy myth in books for the young adds an important dimension to American intellectual history. The study pinpoints an intersecting adult and child culture: it demonstrates that many children's stories had political, literary, and social contexts that paralleled the way adult books, schools, churches, and government institutions similarly maligned black identity, culture, and intelligence. The book reveals how links between the socialization of children and conservative trends in the 19th century foretold 20th century disregard for social justice in American social policy. The author demonstrates that cultural pluralism, an ongoing corrective to white supremacist fabrications, is informed by the insights and historical assessments offered in this study.
"…rich and comprehensive…If ever there was a text for …children's literature historians and professors …to invest time in and give serious attention to the portrayal of African Americans …this is it…Clearly, MacCann's book is of importance. …The searing focus of her book does…enlighten and extend existing knowledge on the history of white supremacy in children's literature…" -- History of Reading News
"MacCann's book explains so much about the racial situation in the US today that it should not be restricted to those studying children's literature. It should be in every library and read by all those who expect "the arts and institutions to maximize social justice"." -- Choice