The Worlds of Words Center honors the first annual Floyd Cooper Day as part of Children’s Book Week! Visit the WOW Center to see an original Floyd Cooper illustration, take in WOW’s extensive collection of books created by Cooper, and share your thinking about his legacy.
Cooper is credited with more than 100 children’s books over an award-winning 30-year career. He used pastels to create historically accurate depictions of African American people and experiences. Cooper donated of one of his original works in 2016 after visiting the center. That untitled piece from the book, In the Land of Milk and Honey, was included in a playful exhibit in 2018 and has been on prominent display in the Mary J. Wong Collection since then. To remember and celebrate his gift of storytelling, Worlds of Words, along with teachers, librarians, and booksellers across the country, are sharing our space and materials in his honor.
Floyd Cooper Day is sponsored by friends of Floyd Cooper, The Brown Bookshelf, the Highlights Foundation, The African American Children’s Book Project, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre chronicles the murderous hostility, humiliation and hope of this largely suppressed historical event in United States. The devastation occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This third person informational text narrates the incidents that occurred in one of the worst racially violent cases in U.S. Tulsa, during this time, was a prosperous segregated town, where descendants of “Black Indians, from formerly enslaved people, and from Exodusters” thrived in their Greenwood community, once known as Black Wallstreet. “Once upon a time” near Tulsa, is a phrase that is eloquently repeated to depict the prosperity that the people in the Greenwood community created. Then one day, the massacre stemmed from one elevator ride where a 17-year-old white elevator operator accused a 19-year old Black shoeshine man of “assault for simmering hatred to boil over.” This incident resulted in 300 Black people who died, and more than 8,000 left homeless, “…hundreds of businesses were reduced to ash.” It took over 75 years to launch an investigation, which uncovered that “police and city officials had plotted with the angry white mob to destroy the nation’s wealthiest Black community.” Continue reading
By Rebecca Ballenger, Coordinator, Outreach and Collections
In a collection already bursting with important works by children’s book illustrators, Worlds of Words added one more. The untitled piece from In the Land of Milk and Honey by award-winning illustrator, Floyd Cooper, recently went on display where visitors can see his unique oil wash on board technique.