Faculty Bookshelf: Katharine Capshaw

Books by Katharine Capshaw

capshaw book cover

Who Writes for Black Children? African American Children’s Literature Before 1900 (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). With Anna Mae Duane.

Who Writes for Black Children? unlocks a rich archive of largely overlooked literature read by black children. From poetry written by a slave for a plantation school to joyful “death biographies” of African Americans in the antebellum North to literature penned by African American children themselves, this volume presents compelling new definitions of both African American literature and children’s literature.

Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press, 2014).
The unexpected and evocative role of children’s photographic books in cultural transformation and social change.Civil Rights Childhood explores the function of children’s photographic books and the image of the black child in social justice campaigns for school integration and the civil rights movement. Drawing on works ranging from documentary photography and popular historical narratives to coffee-table and art books, Capshaw shows how the photobook—and the aspirations of childhood itself—encourage cultural transformation.
Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance (Indiana University Press, 2006)
During the New Negro Renaissance, African American children’s literature became a crucial medium through which a disparate community forged bonds of cultural, economic, and aesthetic solidarity. Employing interdisciplinary critical strategies, including social, educational, and publishing history, canon-formation theory, and extensive archival research, Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance analyzes childhood as a site of emerging black cultural nationalism. It explores the period’s vigorous exchange about the nature and identity of black childhood and uncovers the networks of African Americans who worked together to transmit black history and culture to a new generation.