Evelyn Kessler

About Evelyn

Evelyn Kessler is a PhD student at the University of Chicago, studying nineteenth- and early twentieth-century United States history. She earned her undergraduate degree in History from UCLA, and taught high school English in Los Angeles.

By the turn of the twentieth century, American visual culture had cleaved two distinct paths for white and black children. Images found in advertising, literature, and social science journals painted a delinquent, diseased, and dehumanized portrait of black childhood. Those visuals stood in marked contrast to angelic profiles of white children. Such a divide held profound consequence, both ideological and practical, in the post-emancipation era—helping to define the boundaries of childhood innocence; the terms of full citizenship; and, among other concerns, the bodily integrity of black Americans.