Charles W. Chesnutt, America's first great Black novelist, lived in the distinct political, social and cultural environment that found expression in his literary works. Instead of trying to hide behind the lightness of his skin color, as many fair skin African-Americans did, Chesnutt chose to show his true identity. He took the racial and social discrimination inflicted upon him and others then used it for motivation in his writings. Chesnutt novels reveal the harsh world of prejudice and social indifference in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Charles W. Chesnutt was born June 20, 1858, in Cleveland Ohio, the eldest child of Andrew Jackson Chesnutt and Anne Maria Sampson, free blacks from North Carolina. During his childhood the Chesnutt family was forced to move to Ohio due to increasing civil turmoil regarding slavery. The Chesnutt’s moved to Fayetteville, NC after the civil war. At this time Charles Chesnutt received some of his education at Howard School, a Freedman’s Bureau school, but for the most part Chesnutt was a self-educated.
Chesnutt Literary carrier took birth when he got his first successful short story was “The Goophered Grapevine” in August 1887 in the Atlantic Monthly. Even though his first publication of his short stories was "Uncle Peter's House," appeared in the Cleveland News and Herald in 1885. Chesnutt was the first African American author to be published in the Atlantic Monthly, one of the major contemporary literary journals. From there it was onto The Conjure Woman in 1899, a short fiction book written in North Carolina dialect that put him on the map with widespread attention among white and black readers.
Chesnutt composed several more works over the next twenty years. They included fiction, nonfiction, and mostly letters to publishers and family. He also found time to mingle among many social groups. Chesnutt died on 15 November 1932, leaving behind him a rich artistic l...