For many years books about Negro children followed a stereotyped pattern. The characters portrayed were the barefoot menial, or the red-lipped clown. Rarely did the Negro character in a story where there were other children ever take part in the story as equals. Illustrators, it seemed, could not resist presenting the quaint 'pickaninny type'. Charlemae Rollins, 1948
The following pages represent a new emphasis at The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. Inspired by Charlemae Hill Rollins' landmark work We Build Together, the Collection is seeking to inventory books by, and about African Americans and to document through its holdings the changes which she sought throughout her 30 year career--the availabilty of books which present to all readers "...appealing, true-to-life stories of [African Americans] in varied phases of American life."
This is important, Rollins emphasized, because "...children as they are growing up need special interpretations of the lives of other peoples, [and] must be helped to an understanding and tolerance. They cannot develop these qualities through contacts with others, if those closest to them are prejudiced and unsympathetic with other races and groups. Tolerance and understanding can be gained through reading the right books."