The United States Race and Childhood Fiction digital collection features book manuscripts authored by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga undergraduate students enrolled in Professor Susan Eckelmann Berghel's HIST 3920 US Race and Childhood class in 2018 Spring.
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Kiana Reece, Sara Leach, Emily Duggan, Zoe Boals, and Tucker McClendon
Mrs. Venus’s Class Exploring Jim Crow. This story revolves around a classroom on a different planet full of alien children who are learning about American history, specifically the Jim Crow era. The teacher and the students discuss the injustices and oppression experienced by African Americans and other non-white citizens. The next day, American student Jimmy Turner joins them, and he is faced with animosity by some of the alien children in the class. The alien teacher points to the similarities in the children’s prejudice against the human and the prejudice that was prominent during the Jim Crow era.
Cheyenne Pearson, Caleb Dockery, Kristen Elliot, Lucas Gallon, and Houston Nichols
Sky’s Limit is about a 5-year-old biracial girl named Sky, growing up during the Civil Rights period. As she reaches the age of understanding, Sky begins to wonder why her mom cannot join her and her dad on their adventures. One day, her dad takes her to the ice cream shop and Sky realizes that no one else looks like her, nor do the other moms look like her mom. She eventually questions her dad about why her mom can never get ice cream with them. Her dad then reaches for her hand and begins to describe the racial tension currently going on in the United States. As the two arrive home, Sky runs into her mom’s arms in tears questioning the actions of the world. Her mom embraces her and explains that the racial tensions will soon die down and they will all be able to get ice cream together. In the end, the “white only” sign is taken down.
Chase Clark, Roman Penney, Olivia Matlock, Jacob Davis, and Carter Kilpatrick
An Unexpected Alliance, which is set in the United States during WWII. The main character of our book is an adventurous seven-year-old girl named Betty whose father is fighting in the war. To help her father win the war, Betty sets off one day to go ‘scrapping’ for metal. Along the way, she meets an African American boy named Stanley who is also out ‘scrapping’ to help his brother who is away at war. Despite their societal differences, the unlikely duo combines their resources to not only find scrap metal to help their loved ones, they also develop a friendship during the process.
Hannah Ragan, Mae Stuart, Lauren Croteau, and Tyler Clemons
This is What America Looks Like. The name, inspired by the protest chant currently used to support to reinstatement of DACA, is intended to signify an embrace of the diversity of modern day America. After Nicholas makes a snide remark telling Eleanor, a Guatemalan immigrant , to go back to her own country, Mrs. Baker 's 3rd grade class is tasked with exploring their families' immigration history and journey to America. The story centers around a group of four students: Nicholas, a descendant of Eastern European immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island over a century ago; Grace, who came from Chinese immigrants searching for a better life in California; Gabriel, whose distant grandmother came to New Orleans from Haiti ; and Eleanor, who immigrated with her family from Latin America ; telling the stories they learned about their unique and diverse family histories. The story wraps up with Nicholas realizing that his own family history is not much different than the life of Eleanor, and concludes with him apologizing to her.
Sarah Yarbrough and Sami Solberg
What Are Slaves? is about an eight-year-old, biracial boy named Danny who visits a historical antebellum era plantation with his mother. While observing the now present day museum, a picture of slave children working in a field catches Danny’s eye. Curious and having never learned about slaves, Danny inquires to his mother about what the children his age are doing. Danny’s mother gives him an explanation of what slaves are and how they ended up in their situation. Going from one photo exhibit to another, Danny asks his mother for reasons regarding the slaves’ appearance, workload, and education, all of which she patiently explains. After grasping the concept of a slave and realizing that their oppression was all based on the color of skin, Danny becomes upset and mentions that the whole thing seems unfair. His mother replies that keeping slaves is unfair and explains how slavery ended because of people working together to change an unfair problem. She then makes sure Danny knows that unequal treatment towards people of color still exists today, and tells him to always make sure he treats everyone with respect regardless of their skin color.