Charles W. Chesnutt : Essays and speeches

The 77 works included in this volume comprise of all of Chesnutt’s known works of nonfiction, 38 of which are reprinted here for the first time. They reveal an ardent and often outraged spokesman for the African American whose militancy increased to such a degree that, by 1903, he had more in common with W.E.B. DuBois than Booker T. Washington. He was, however, a lifelong integrationist and even an advocate of “race amalgamation,” seeing interracial marriage as the ultimate means of solving “the Negro Problem,” as it was termed at the end of the century. That he championed the African American during the Jim Crow era while opposing Black Nationalism and other “race pride” movements attests to the way Chesnutt defined himself as a controversial figure, in his time and ours.