4 AUDITING DIVERSITY IN LIBRARY COLLECTIONS most distinguished picture book of the year.”9 Over its history, the Caldecott would go on to better reflect communities, as “increasingly the winning titles have reflected the diversity of American cultures and moved from the traditional cozy picture book world into visual examinations of more chal- lenging areas of modern life.”10 These achievements in children’s literature were accomplished against the backdrop of economic upheaval in the United States following the Stock Market Crash in 1929. Race relations, though never good, plummeted dur- ing this time, so much so that “by 1932, approximately half of African Americans were unemployed. In some Northern cities, whites called for African Americans to be fired from any jobs as long as there were whites out of work.”11 This ongoing systemic oppression prevented Black people from reasonable livelihoods. White supremacist violence also heightened during this time lynching increased nationwide from 6 in 1932 to 24 in 1933.12 When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933 prior to World War II, the American people began the slow climb to economic prosperity with the New Deal. While advantageous for many white Americans and the national economy, Black Americans continued to be denied reasonable jobs and ­ economic stability. 1940s By 1941 the United States was firmly involved in World War II, sending soldiers off to the European theater while rationing, metal drives, and women entering the industrial workforce in droves occurred at home. The pain of World War II was not reserved for global spaces away from main- land America. Part of the American involvement in the destructive ideol- ogy of the war included the racist action of Executive Order 9066. This order forced nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans into intern- ment camps.13 Clara Breed, president of the American Library Associa- tion’s (ALA’s) then-titled Children’s Services Division and San Diego librarian, protested the order and corresponded with her young, impris- oned patrons.14 The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California, is now home to the Clara Breed Collection, also available online. The collection is a series of letters she received from imprisoned children throughout the war “Breed became their reliable correspondent, sending them books, assisting with requests for supplies, and through her actions, serving as a reminder of the possibility for decency and justice in a troubled world.”15 During this time, Zia Pueblo artist Velino Herrera won a Caldecott Honor (not Medal) in 1942 for In My Mother’s House, written by Ann Nola Clark, and had “the distinction of being the only American Indian illustrator—or author—of a Caldecott book”16 for 79 years as described in a master’s thesis by Angela Moffett. While small steps forward have been made in publishing
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