• The Best of the Brownies' Book edited by Dianne Johnson-Feelings

The Best of the Brownies' Book edited by Dianne Johnson-Feelings


In January 1920 a new monthly magazine was born, created especially for the young people the editors called “the Children of the Sun.” W.E.B. Du Bois, a professor and writer who was one of the founders of the NAACP, was publisher and editor. Augustus Granville Dill, a former professor of social sciences at Atlanta University, was the business manager. Jessie Redmon Fauset, author and mentor to other African-American writers, was the literary editor. Their magazine was The Brownies’ Book and its readers were the African-American children and young adults of the1920s.
      Few children’s magazines, movies, schoolbooks, or picture books in the 1920s portrayed black people at all, or if they did it was only in minor and unimportant positions. The Brownies’ Book gave African-American children an opportunity to see that the history and achievements of black people in America were essential and worth knowing about. The magazine was interesting and fun, with great stories, poetry, biographies of famous black Americans, reports on international cultures, articles about the accomplishments of young people from all over the country, and photographs and other beautiful artwork created by African =American artists.
       This anthology of selections from 24 issues of The Brownies’ Book is as important and entertaining for today’s young people as it was 75 years ago. It paints a vivid picture of what life was like for young African Americans in the early 20th century and addresses issues that are still important to children of all races today. The Brownies’ Book was created especially for African-American children, but the editors took care that it taught “Universal Love and Brotherhood for all little folk – black and brown and yellow and white.”
       As editor Dianne Johnson-Feelings says in her preface, “Perhaps as you read The Best of The Brownies’ Book, just a sample of what appeared each month, you will feel as if you are a ‘true brownie’ – a regular reader of the magazine more than 75 years ago. For in many ways, you might not be so different from those of the 1920s who were called ‘the Children of the Sun.’”  © 347 pages
      Hardcover published in 1996