One of the most significant novels in American literature, The Marrow of Tradition is based on the Wilmington, North Carolina, Massacre of 1898. Called a "race riot" by the inflammatory Southern press and engineered by white Democrats who had seen their political slip into the hands of Republicans, many of whom were black, it was in fact a coup that restored power to the Democrats by subverting the principles of free democratic election. Some of Charles Chestnutt's relatives lived through the violence, and their ...
One of the most significant novels in American literature, The Marrow of Tradition is based on the Wilmington, North Carolina, Massacre of 1898. Called a "race riot" by the inflammatory Southern press and engineered by white Democrats who had seen their political slip into the hands of Republicans, many of whom were black, it was in fact a coup that restored power to the Democrats by subverting the principles of free democratic election. Some of Charles Chestnutt's relatives lived through the violence, and their accounts inspired this powerful and passionate novel.
Based upon the Wilmington, NC, race riot of 1898 and written in 1901, this historical novel makes a plea for racial justice. A group of powerful white men continue to run the fictional town of Wellington and their households as though the Civil War had never occurred. Complicating matters even further, Olivia Carteret, wife of the white newspaper editor, discovers she and Janet Miller, wife of the town's black doctor, have the same father. As the town's residents battle their way through the social and racial issues resulting from the war, Olivia and Janet work their way through racial, social, and family issues. Michael Collins provides an excellent reading with his well-paced and expressive delivery combined with a wide range of male and female voices and accents. Professionally produced, this classic tale is recommended for all public, academic, and school libraries. Laurie Selwyn, Law Lib., Grayson Cty., Sherman, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Marrow of Tradition: The Complete Text
Introduction: Cultural and Historical Background
Chronology of Chesnutt's Life and Times
A Note on the Text
The Marrow of Tradition [1901 Houghton Mifflin edition]
The Marrow of Tradition: Cultural Contexts
1. Caste, Race and Gender After Reconstruction
Philip Bruce, from The Platinum Negro as a Freeman
Tom Watson, from "The Negro Question in the South"
William Dean Howells, from An Imperative Duty
Booker T. Washington, "Atlanta Exposition Speech" from Up from Slavery
Charles W. Chesnutt, from "The Future American"
W.E.B. DuBois, from "The Conservation of Race"
Theodore Roosevelt, from "Birth Reform, from the Positive, not the Negative Side"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, from Women and Economics
Fannie Barrier Williams, from "The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Woman"
Roscoe Conklin Bruce, from "Service by the Educated Negro"
2. Law and Lawlessness
Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
George Washington Cable, from "The Freedman's Case in Equity"
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): excerpts from brief by Albion Tourgee, majority opinion by Justice Henry Billings Brown, and the dissenting opinion by Justice John Marshall Harlan
"Suffrage and Eligibility to Office," Article VI, amendment to the North Carolina State Constitution
Ida B. Wells, from SouthernHorrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases
"Lynched Negro and Wife First Mutilated," Vicksburg (Mississippi) Evening Post February 8, 1904
"Victim's Family Begs to See Negro Burned," Atlanta Constitution October 2, 1905
"Belleville is Complacent Over Horrible Lynching,: New York Herald June 9, 1903
Jane Addams, from "Respect for Law," Independent
Ray Stannard Baker, from "A Race Riot and After," Following the Color Line
George H. White, from a speech before the United States House of Representatives, February 23, 1900
3. The Wilmington Riot
Alexander Manly, editorial printed in Literary Digest, 1898
Rebecca Latimer Fulton, speech reported in The Wilmington Star
From the "White Man's Declaration of Independence" (or, Wilmington Declaration of Independence), from Appleton's Cyclopaedia
Anonymous letter to William McKinley, 13 November 1898
Charles Chesnutt, from letter to Walter Hines Page, 1898
Jane Cronly, "An Account of the Race Riot in Wilmington, N.C."
4. Segregation as Culture: Etiquette, Spectacle, and Fiction
Wilmington Messenger article, rpt in Raleigh New and Observer, 8 September 1899
Photograph of "Old Plantation" Midway booth at the 1896 Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia
From The Cotton States and International Exposition program
Tom Fletcher, from 100 Years of the Negro in Show Business
"Old" and "New" Negro photographs juxtaposed, from Frances Benjamin Johnston's The Hampton album.
Charles Chesnutt, Literary Memoranda
Charles Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy"
Thomas Dixon, from The Leopard's Spots
Williams Dean Howells, from "A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction" North American Review