Chesnutt's Works

Reviews

Bibliography

Manuscripts

Related Links

Home

Chesnutt in the Classroom

Site Info


THE PHILADELPHIA RECORD, FRIDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 16, 1900
Books of the Day.
A Story of Love and Race Prejudice.

Can a white man continue to love a woman after he has discovered that she has a trace of negro blood in her veins? Such is the question propounded in Charles W. Chestnutt’s latest work "The House Behind the Cedars" (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) The problem might not be so complicated were it not for the fact that the tale takes place in the South shortly after the end of the Great Rebellion, when race prejudice ran high between the whites and the blacks. The latter, exultant over their new found freedom, aroused the resentment of the Southerners by being given equal rights. The whites, on the other hand, felt that in surrendering the liberty of their slaves, they lost their own liberty. George Tyron, the hero of the tale, is one of these Southerners, and discovering that one of his sweetheart’s antecedents was a negro, his passionate love turns to bitter hate, for "one drop of black blood makes the whole man black." To marry her, "Tyron felt would be criminal at any time, it would have been the most odious treachery at this epoch, when his people had been subjugated and humiliated by the Northern invaders, who had preached negro equality and abolished the wholesome laws decreeing the separation of the races." But love is all-powerful and we find the hero repent his action. The story is deftly written and gives a clear insight into the race differences of that day resulting from the freeing of the slaves.

-----

"A Story of Love and Race Prejudice," in "Books of the Day," The Philadelphia Record 16 Nov. 1900: 10.