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Let’s Talk About It: “The Marrow of Tradition” by Charles Chesnutt

October 25, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Book three in the series “Violence and Belonging: The 14th Amendment and American Literature.” Discussion facilitated by USM scholar Reza Jalali.

Penned in 1901, Chesnutt’s novel revisits the events of 1898, refuting the sensationalized and apolitical picture of what had been widely and inaccurately depicted as a “race riot” by offering a dramatic examination of the roots of the violent government takeover in Wilmington, NC, and its catalyzing events. The Marrow of Tradition also provides a trenchant critique of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision, which famously opined that “separate but equal” accommodations for blacks and whites in the routine spaces of public life did not violate the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal citizenship and due process before the law. This compelling work of realist social fiction presents one of American literature’s most profound meditations on the uneven legacy of the 14th Amendment’s construction of African-American citizenship.


October 25, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm