In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history. Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.
Two-time NAACP Image Award winner Carole Boston Weatherford is a New York Times best-selling author and poet. Her books include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Becoming Billie Holiday, and the Caldecott Honor Books Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Freedom in Congo Square, and Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. For career achievements, she has been recognized by the North Carolina English Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC. She teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Visit her online at CBWeatherford.com.
Eric Velasquez, the son of Afro-Puerto Rican parents, was born in Spanish Harlem and grew up in Harlem in New York City. As a child, his love for doodling and drawing was strongly encouraged by his mother. From his grandmother he inherited a love of music and from his father he developed a love of movies. Growing up in this setting, Eric says, “Becoming an artist was a natural choice for me. I have never thought of being anything else.”