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Suffer the Little ChildrenUses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children's Literature$
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Jodi Eichler-Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814722992

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814722992.001.0001

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Remembering the Way into Membership

Remembering the Way into Membership

(p.1) 1 Remembering the Way into Membership
Suffer the Little Children

Jodi Eichler-Levine

NYU Press

This chapter examines the logic underlying most of the Jewish and African American children's literature discussed in this book. It begins with a brief introduction to the histories of Jewish and African American children's books before moving to readings that show how democratic rhetoric allowed both Jewish Americans and African Americans to harness juvenile materials as a chief means of demonstrating patriotism and respectable religiosity. The discussion is organized around three periods that are crucial to commemorations of Jewish and African American identities: the colonial era, World War I, and the civil rights movement. These examples of military action and activism demonstrate how minorities, through their willingness to sacrifice their own lives for others, remember their way into civic membership. In this sense, voluntarism becomes the primary way to sign one's belonging.

Keywords:   voluntarism, Jewish children's literature, African American children's literature, Jewish Americans, African Americans, patriotism, religiosity, World War I, civil rights movement, civic membership

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