Charles W. Chesnutt


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black author, best known for The Conjure Woman (1899), a series of dialect stories about incidents of slavery, told by an old black gardener to his Northern employers. This was followed by a biography of Frederick Douglass (1899) and a second collection of stories, The Wife of His Youth (1899), dealing with a free black's conflicting loyalties to the wife he had married in slavery and to the more refined black woman whom he later meets. His less successful novels are The House Behind the Cedars (1900), concerned with a light-complexioned black woman who is undecided whether to enjoy comfort as a white man's mistress or the sincere love of a black man; The Marrow of Tradition (1901), about the struggles of black and white half-sisters; and The Colonel's Dream (1905), telling of an idealist's unsuccessful attempt to root race hatred out of a Southern town.

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Charles W. Chesnutt