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Charles W. Chesnutt to Albion W. Tourgée, 18 October 1889

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  30 Blackstone Bld'g 4077 4077 My dear Sir:-

Yours of Oct. 12th received, and I think you cordially for your offer to write me a prefer. I am more than likely to recall it as soon as I have time to look after the matter of getting out a book.

Thanks also for the copy of Frank Leslie's.1 I saw it copied just now,2 with proper credit, in a newspaper published by a colored man for circulation among colored people., a roundabout way of saying a "colored" newspaper. Your labors are appreciated by those you seek to benefit.

Yours very truly, Chas. W. Chesnutt. Judge A. W. Tourgee, Mayville, N. Y.

Correspondent: Albion Winegar Tourgée (1838–1905) was a White activist, author, and judge. During Reconstruction, he settled in North Carolina and became an advocate for racial equality. Tourgée wrote his bestselling autobiographical novel, A Fool's Errand (1879), before moving to Mayville, New York, in 1881. He published 15 more novels in the next 17 years, and several times attempted to found magazines, often inviting Chesnutt to serve as editor. In 1891, he founded the National Citizens' Rights Association, an organization devoted to equality for African-American citizens, and in 1896 served as Homer Plessy's lead counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

1. Albion W. Tourgée published an essay, "Our Semi-Citizens," in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper for September 28, 1889, in which he argued for political rights, specifically voting rights, for African Americans.[back]

2. The reprint Chesnutt refers has not been located.[back]