In Racial Innocence, Robin Bernstein argues that the concept of
“childhood innocence” has been central to U.S. racial formation since
the mid-nineteenth century. Children–white ones imbued with innocence,
black ones excluded from it, and others of color erased by it–figured
pivotally in sharply divergent racial agendas from slavery and
abolition to antiblack violence and the early civil rights movement.
Racial Innocence takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and<br…