The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939

W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963) was one of the most important and influential leaders of the African American community in the first half of the twentieth century. He was a spokesperson for civil rights and urged African Americans to celebrate their intellectual and cultural achievements. Du Bois opposed Booker T. Washington's approach to dealing with racial inequality. Whereas Washington urged education and opportunities that accommodated the social realities of Jim Crow segregation, Du Bois advocated for the cultivation of what he termed “The Talented Tenth,” a group of highly educated African Americans who would serve as leaders of the community and help to enact social change. In 1910, Du Bois became the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and started the organization’s journal entitled The Crisis. Aware that in order to become successful race leaders African American children needed positive representations of themselves and their people, Du Bois founded The Brownies Book in 1920.