Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi on June 20,1897, Charlemae Hill was educated at Columbia University and The University of Chicago. She married Joseph Walter Rollins in 1918. Prior to joining the staff of the Chicago Public Library in 1927, Mrs. Rollins was a teacher in Oklahoma.
As a professional librarian, Mrs. Rollins was "...one of the first to stress pride in her black heritage. Her lifelong campaign to end the stereotyped portrayal of blacks in children's books was waged through her library work, her lecturing in children's literature at Roosevelt University, and her writing." (Something About the Author, Volume 26, p. 171).
Her groundbreaking work We Build Together (1948) highlighted criteria for choosing books that portrayed Blacks realistically and built democratic attitudes among all people.
In the introduction to We Build Together Rollins states, "Whether books are written for Negro children or about them for other children, the objective should be the same. They should interpret life. They should help young people to live together with tolerance and to understand each other better."
Mrs. Rollins was also a storyteller and author. Christmas 'Gif: An Anthology of Christmas Poems, Songs and Stories, Written by and about Negroes, Follett, 1963; They Showed the Way: Forty American Negro Leaders, Crowell, 1964; and Black Troubadour: Langston Hughes, Rand McNally, 1970 are but three of her published books.