Of the author of The Conjure Woman, originally published in 1899, Mr. Spingarn says: "Mr. Chesnutt's novels . . . are the first novels in which an American of Negro descent has in any real sense portrayed the fortunes of his race. . . . The Conjure Woman is the earliest of his novels, and is quite different from its successors. It is folktale pure and simple, but folktale most delightfully and whimsically told. . . . He was the first Negro novelist, and he is still the best."