Born on June 20, 1858 in Cleveland, Ohio, Charles Chesnutt was the first son of a small-town grocer and his life was typical of freed mulattos in a newly “renovated” South. Living under the ever-present color lines fueled Chesnutt’s desire to reach the public through fiction and he became a pioneer for African American writers. Credited as one of the first black men to achieve critical acclaim; Chesnutt’s collections of short stories entitled The Conjure Woman (1891) and The Wife of His Youth and Other Color Line Stories (1899) give special attention, for the first time, to the lives of black men and women post slavery. Following up his short stories with three novels, The House Behind the Cedars
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