A pioneer in the development of fiction giving voice to the African-American experience, Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858–1932) found literary success with his «conjure tales» — vignettes from black folk life, recounted partially in the vernacular — and later with his «stories of the color line,» which addressed more directly the problems of race in America.This outstanding, affordable volume presents a selection of the best of both conjure and color line tales. Ten stories include «The Goophered Grapevine,» widely considered Chesnutt's best work, «Po' Sandy,» «Sis' Becky's Pickaninny,» «The Doll,» «The Wife of His Youth,» «Dave's Neckliss,» «The Passing of Grandison,» "A Matter of Principle, «The Sheriff's Children,» and a wry look at the American intelligentsia, «Baxter's Procrustes.»Brimming with wit, charm, and insight, these stories testify to the qualities that have earned Chesnutt an enduring place in American literature and have made his fiction required reading for scholars and students of African-American history and culture. This edition features an informative Introduction by African-American literature expert Joan Sherman that provides valuable background information on Chesnutt and his work.
Major Carteret is the white owner of the biggest newspaper in Wellington, a racially segregated city in the post-Civil War South. Carteret, along with other powerful white men in Wellington, are outraged that an editorial published the town's black newspaper has questioned the justification for lynchings. As racial tension mounts, Carteret struggles on the domestic front. His wife and child are unwell and his niece, Clara, is courted by Tom Delamer, a lush aristocrat. Meanwhile, William Miller, a young black doctor, returns to hometown of Wellington to set up a practice. Everything comes to a head, however, when a white woman is murdered.