Brownies' Book

Du Bois had long worried that African American children had no place to turn in the mainstream media for stories about members of their race. With most of the children’s literature of the day produced by white authors for white children, Du Bois wanted to offer an alternative: a magazine written by black authors for black children.

In January 1920 the first issue of The Brownies' Book was produced by Du Bois and Dill, publishers, and made available to subscribers at $1.50 a year or 0.15 an issue. With Du Bois serving as the magazine’s editor and Augustus Granville Dill as its business manager, Jessie Redmon Fauset contributed to overseeing much of the content as its managing editor. The Brownies' Book included short stories, poetry, biographical sketches of prominent African Americans, puzzles, beautiful illustrations, and a monthly column from Du Bois, “As the Crow Flies.” Readers were encouraged to make submissions to the magazine in a feature called “The Jury,” where letters from children were printed, and parents were encouraged to submit photographs of their babies. The magazine was well received by the young readership, but unfortunately was not able to gain enough subscriptions to secure its fate. In Dec 1921, after twenty-four issues, The Brownies' Book ceased publication.

The Library of Congress' Rare Book and Special Collections Division provides online access to all but the last issue of the Brownies' Book. Or one can choose to download the available issues as one large PDF file (351 MB).


  • Brownie's Book, Series 3D, W.E.B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst.
  • Lewis, David Levering (2000). W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

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