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About the Series
About This Volume
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 Southern Horrors: 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
Posted July 28, 2012
Based loosely on the Wilmington, NC, race riot of 1898, this novel is the story of a white family and a black family whose lives become entangled before, during, and after the riot. The white family are Major and Olivia (Livy) Carteret and their only son born late in Livy's life, Dodie. The black, or more correctly biracial, family are the well-to-do doctor William Miller, his wife Janet, half-sister to Livy Carteret, and their young son. There are moments of joy and of horror, of sentimentality and pathos true to the style of Chestnutt. Though I knew well the historical context of the riot and most of the twists and turns of the story before I read, I am glad that I read it the way Chestnutt wrote it. It was one of the best novels I have ever enjoyed.
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Posted March 5, 2012
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