Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas Talk

Published: September 24th, 2018

Category: Featured, News

On September 12, 2018, Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas spoke at the opening reception for the George A. Smathers Library’s current exhibit, “Racism, Representation, and Resistance in Children’s Literature 1800-2015.” Dr. Thomas delivered her talk, entitled “Stories That Matter, Harm, and Heal,” to a large and enthusiastic audience.

Dr. Thomas’s talk centered on two important questions that have shaped her research agenda since she was a graduate student: “When do children first learn about slavery? Are these narratives accurate?” She explained that while many children primarily learn about slavery from literature, these depictions are often flawed and problematic. For instance, Dr. Thomas noted that picture books that feature enslaved characters rarely mention these characters’ hardships in the text or illustrations. Dr. Thomas supported her claims with vivid examples from a range of children’s books, including Henry Cole’s Unspoken and Ramin Ganeshram’s controversial A Birthday Cake for George Washington. You can find more information about Dr. Thomas’s research and projects here.

“Race, Representation, and Resistance” was curated by Suzan Alteri, Stephanie Birch, and Dr. Hélène Huet. The exhibit will remain on display in the Special and Area Collections Grand Reading Room in the Smathers Library until October 5, 2018. Click here for more information.


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