I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America

I, Too, Am America

  • By Langston Hughes
  • Illustrated by Bryan Collier
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Ages: 4-8
  • Grades: Preschool-3
  • Against the well known Langston Hughes poem, “I, Too, Am America,” Bryan Collier’s collage and paintings accompany and reinvent the text about Pullman railway porters, one of the first jobs that offered African-American men steady pay, dignity, and a ladder into the middle class. Collier’s portraits of the porters at work alternate with bold, sweeping spreads of cotton fields, onto which a porter scatters discarded books and magazines, planting knowledge along the railway lines.

    The story travels from South to North and from old to new, ending in Harlem, where a contemporary African-American mother rides in a subway car, her son gazing out the window. In the next spread, he’s seen in startling closeup, parting and peering between the stripes of an all-but-invisible American flag. “I, too, am America,” he says. It’s a powerful metaphor for looking at African-American history—and the issue of race in America—from the inside out.