Traveling Exhibition


African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature

August 29 – September 26

Telling People's Stories Title Panel

About the Exhibition

Organized by the Miami University Art Museum through a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.

From the exhibition organizers: “Telling A People’s Story is the first major museum exhibition devoted to the art found within the pages of African-American children’s picture books. The exhibition emphasizes the strength of the illustrations as visual narrative representations of the African-American experience. …This project celebrates the complex and diverse African-American experience through a lens intended for children and young readers. The exhibition offers something for all viewers through the representation of familiar and lesser-known people and the contributions of African Americans to an American identity.”

In this exhibition, African-American children’s illustrated literature becomes the focus featuring art produced for book illustrations. This presentation brings to light the long neglected world of African-American authors and illustrators in the pantheon of children’s literature, while also providing a look into the cultural, historical, and social makeup of African-American cultural identity. Telling A People’s Story addresses:

  • The presentation of African-American identity and history in a creative, educational and respectful manner.
  • The raising of greater awareness for the role African-American illustrators and authors play in the development and growth of the field of children’s literature.
  • The topic of social justice throughout African-American history.
  • The need for awareness to the challenges African-American children’s book authors and illustrators face in a field lacking sufficient representation of minorities.
  • The importance of appreciating the culture and history of a people who are deeply rooted in the American story.

Children up to age 12 will be able to participate in the Children’s Department Scavenger Hunt, searching for clues throughout the exhibit. A small prize will be awarded at the end of the hunt.

There also will be a display of books by African American illustrators and titles featured in Marley Dias’ “1000 Black Girl Books” that will be available to borrow from the children’s area.

You can learn even more about the exhibition from the organizers here.

Telling People's Stories Title Panel
Telling People's Stories Exhibition Panel
Telling People's Stories Exhibition Panels
Telling People's Stories Exhibition Panel
Telling People's Stories Exhibition Panel
The exhibit features 12 panels throughout the library, they are:
Title & Introduction Panel – Lobby

African Traditions and Storytelling – 1st floor (bottom of grand staircase)

The Middle Passage (1650s-1850s) – 1st floor (bottom of grand staircase)

Slavery & the Underground Railroad (1619-1865) – 1st floor (bottom of grand staircase)

Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction (1863-1877) – Mezzanine

Segregation (1860s-1960s) – Mezzanine

Harlem Renaissance & The Great Migration (1918-1924) – Mezzanine

The Civil Rights Era (1954-1968) – Panel 1 – 2nd floor (Child Non-fiction)

The Civil Rights Era (1954-1968) – Panel 2 – 2nd floor (Child Non-fiction)

Modern Cultural Identity (1970s and beyond) – 2nd floor (Child Non-fiction)

Biographical Sketches – Panel 1 – 2nd floor  (Picture book area)

Biographical Sketches – Panel 2 – 2nd floor  (Picture book area)