Graduate student to present Oct. 8 on construction of black male identity through picture books

“Illustrating Little Manhood & Erasing Black Boyhood in African-American Picture Books" flyer

There is a long legacy of picture books that teach young African-American boys to become “little men,” leaving behind childish ways to demonstrate rigid maturity and asexual masculinity. The next Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities event will feature a look at how black male identity is constructed by picture books Thursday, Oct. 8, at 4:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206.

In this Graduate Student Work-in-Progress lecture, Cara Byrne, a graduate student in the Department of English, will examine the complexities of visualizing black male identity, especially for and about young black boys.

Byrne’s project ultimately contends that many African-American picture books not only respond to generations of hate crimes and discrimination but also that black authors and illustrators use the genre as a way to protect the youngest generation and seek social justice. By analyzing the African-American picture book genre, which has gone simultaneously critically ignored and popularly embraced, one can see a long lineage of this theme.

A reception will be held prior to the lecture at 4:15 p.m.

Registration for this event is available online.