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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

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.