Reading, Writing, & Race - An Exhibit

Please visit Room 290 B foe the exhibit: "TOBE: The Story of Rural African American Children in North Carolina"

Curated by
Dr. Benjamin Filene
Chief Curator
North Carolina Museum of History
290B Fretwell 
 (in the English Department)

Whose story gets told? Who gets to tell it? How do stories shape how we see ourselves and each other?  A single children’s book from 1939 opens up these pressing questions about race and representation. Tobe used documentary-styled photos and text to depict the everyday lives of rural African American children in North Carolina. But how did the white author and photographer construct those lives, and what did the young participants think of their efforts?  Seventy-five years later, Benjamin Filene tracked down people in the photos and their descendants, and asked fresh questions about a children’s classic.