“The Brownies Book”, First Literary Magazine For African-American Children

Written by Jae Jones

The late 19th century is often referred to as the Golden Age of Children’s Literature. Many writers during this time were coming up with ways to engage and educate young African-American readers. Many children magazines during the era were written for White children readers and depicted people in their magazines as maids, cooks and janitors. There was a great need for literature that would uplift the African-American community in the eyes of children. So, that is when W.E.B Dubois came up with the idea to create and publish “The Brownies” Book.

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The Brownies’ Book was an engaging magazine designed for African-American children and parents. The magazine was filled with fairy tales, poems, plays, biographies, and many other stories. The magazine was designed with 6 main sections; The Judge, As The Crow Flies, The Jury, Playtime, Our Little Friends, and The Little People of the Month.

The Judge: The Judge was written for the parents, and addressed concerns by responding to questions posed to a grandfatherly figure by four friends, Wilhelmina, William, Billie and Bilikins. The section was written each month by Jessie Fauset.

As the Crow Flies: This section of the Brownies magazine was designed to encourage multicultural awareness through a collection of worldwide events that Dubois wrote.

The Jury: The Jury section were letters to the editor from children. Young children could write letters to discuss problems with society and to introduce themselves, ask questions and make future request for other stories.

Playtime: Playtime offered intellectual challenging games such as puzzles and around the world games.

Our Little Friends: Our Little Friends was a fun section where children could be photographed with siblings and showcased in the magazine. It was a great collage of collected pictures of young children.

The Little People of the Month: The section included photos, write-ups and spotlighted children who were excelling in the community, writing, school and music.

The Grown-ups’ Corner: The Grown-ups’ Corner was a channel for adults and parents to communicate and suggest topics for future issues.’


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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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