Introduction by Augusta Baker.
When Charlemae Hill Rollinss Christmas Gif was first published in 1963, it was greeted with much fanfare and celebration. Here, at long last, was the only collection of Christmas poems, stories, songs, and plantation recipes written by and about African-Americans. Ms. Rollins, an internationally renowned childrens librarian and advocate, was often asked by parents, teachers, and children for African American Christmas stories and poems. Born of a desire to share literature of the black experience with children, this book is just as important for families today as it was thirty years ago.
The writings of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Harnett T. Kane give us a deeper insight into the celebration of Christmas during slavery. Poetry by Langston Hughes, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Lorenz Graham eloquently retell traditional Christmas tales. And Countee Cullen and Gwendolyn Brookss contemporary Christmas reflections add special warmth. These and all the voices in this collection combine to express the wonder and spiritual beauty of the season.
Award-winning artist Ashley Bryans stunning black-and-white linoleum-print illustrations make the reissue of Ms. Rollinss landmark work a cause for celebration again. For people of all ages, for families to read together, here is a gift for a new generation of readers to enjoy and cherish.