Frederick Douglass

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User Review  - HistReader - LibraryThing

This is a glowing biography of an American hero. Concise and comprehensive, Charles Chestnutt "touts" Mr. Douglass' accomplishments that he either, he himself did not write about nor achieve prior to ... Read full review

About the author (2008)

An African American born in Ohio, Charles Waddell Chesnutt grew up in North Carolina. At age 25, he returned to Cleveland to raise his family and practice legal stenography. Resisting the temptation to pass as a white man, he made the issue of race and the inequality of African Americans in the Reconstruction South the primary subject of his fiction, essays, and speeches throughout his life. His first story, "The Goophered Grapevine" (1887), was published in the Atlantic Monthly. His major story collections, The Conjure Woman (1899) and The Wife of his Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line (1899), are local-color stories rich in dialect. Uncle Julius, the former slave storyteller, is realistically presented as he tells his Northern white employer tales that show slaves using wit and intelligence to get the best of their masters. Chesnutt's later novels, The House Behind the Cedars (1900) and The Marrow of Tradition (1901), stories of passing and interracial relationships, speak more boldly and bitterly against the racial injustices of the South. They were not well received and, despite the more conciliatory tone of his last novel, The Colonel's Dream (1905), his popularity waned and he returned to his legal business. In 1928 the NAACP awarded Chesnutt the Spingarn Medal for distinguished service to the Negro race. Readers today are rediscovering the humor and subtle satire of Chesnutt's stories.

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