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I would ask my teachers why they never mentioned a Negro in history. I would bring up the name . . . of Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass. I would mention the painters, Bannister and Tanner. My teachers answered smugly and often angrily. . . . It had been deeply ingrained in them, as in me in my first school years, that to be a Negro was something of which to be ashamed; that the Negro people were an inferior people, illiterate, uncouth. 2 This is how Charles Wilbur White (1918-1979) described his struggle as a Chicago high school student to defend the achievement of his people against the misinformation and “grotesque stereotypes” that affronted them “in what we were taught. . . . the books, . . . motion pictures, cartoons, newspapers, ‘jokes,’ and advertisements.” From this impulse grew a brilliant career …
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