1. UWM
  2. School of Information Studies
  3. News & Events
  4. News
  5. Fairy Tales with a Black Consciousness - Dr. Laretta Henderson

Fairy Tales with a Black Consciousness - Dr. Laretta Henderson

[Image] Fairy Tales with a Black Consciousness - Dr. Laretta Henderson

In a recent book release titled Fairy Tales with a Black Consciousness: Essays on Adaptations of Familiar Stories, Associate Professor Laretta Henderson as well as co-authors and editors Vivian Yenika-Agbaw (Penn State) and Ruth McKowy Lowrey (University of Florida Gainesville) discuss Black cultural retellings of traditional European fairy tales. These tales include ones such as Aesop’s fables, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Ananse. Each essay in the book assess what defines each adaptation as having a Black perspective, as well as how adaptation can go astray when trying to provide a Black perspective.

Since the 1970s there has been an increase in African and African American folklore publication. In the 1980s and 90s, there was an additional increase in the publication of traditional fairy tales being published from a Black perspective. Recognizing this trend, Henderson and her co-authors wanted to analyze these adaptations from not only an adult perspective, but also from different cultural perspectives of what it means to be Black.

Each author brings a unique focus to the book. Henderson combines her expertise with African American children’s literature with Yenika-Agbaw’s expertise on African literature and McKowy Lowrey’s expertise with Caribbean and immigrant children literatures. Joining these three perspectives allows the book to represent a large spectrum of Black identity, combining multiple related theories and analyses. Through these methods readers will see that stories from Black perspectives adhere to the dictates of traditional literary conventions while still steeped in literary traditions traceable to Africa or the diaspora.