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Arts & Culture

Tobe: An African-American Children's Book Ahead Of Its Time

African-American children's book "Tobe"
UNC Press

    

First published in 1939 by UNC Press, the picture book Tobe was a rare children's story featuring an African-American protagonist.

The book follows a boy who works hard on his family farm. The story uses the real photos of people who lived in an African-American township just outside of Greensboro called Goshen.

The book gave a historical glimpse into African-American communities in North Carolina, but left open questions about what happened to these families in the decades to come.

Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC-Greensboro history professor Benjamin Filene who uncovered the stories behind the subjects of Tobe. He also speaks with Phyllis Powell, a woman whose family lived in Goshen.

Tobe2.jpg
Credit UNC Press
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UNC Press
This photo of 'Tobe' is featured early on in the book, and shows Charles Gardner, who attempted to cut his own hair before the photographer arrived

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