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[Review of The Marrow of Tradition]

The Marrow of Tradition. By Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1901. 12mo. 329 pp. Cloth, $1.50.

This second novel of Mr. Chesnutt's contains much food for thought to every lover of justice. The story is one of absorbing interest, and the reader follows the fortunes of every character in it with unflagging attention. The scene is laid in a typical southern town, and a vivid picture is presented of the race prejudice which operates so strongly to keep the black race in the south from rising above the level of slavery days. But whether this oppression of the black race is harmful to that race alone is a question which the story forces on the attention of the thinking reader. When what should be the conservative white element of a town assumes the leadership of a howling, bloodthirsty mob for no other purpose than to drive out of office a few colored men who have been appointed to minor public positions, and to assert its own God-given supremacy, what becomes of that boasted supremacy? The story is written in clear, vigorous style, and, though containing nothing of preaching, points a plain moral. Its author will be remembered as being for many years a prominent court reporter of Cleveland.