African American Vernacular English constitutes a crucial element of Charles W. Chestnutt’s short fiction– a distinctive linguistic feature of his southern character. Light enough to “pass” as white, he never did so and always openly identified as African American. You can read more about his novels and short stories in our Black Literary Suite feature “Histories of African American Short Stories: a Digital Humanities Exhibit“
“There was a pensive look in Mr. Ryder’s eyes as he took the floor and adjusted his eyeglasses. He began by speaking of woman as the gift of heaven to man, and after some general observations on the relations of the sexes he said: ‘But perhaps the quality which most distinguishes woman is her fidelity and devotion to those she loves. History is full of examples, but has recorded none more striking than one which only today came under my notice.’” – Charles W. Chestnutt, “The Wife of His Youth”
We are proud to celebrate Black History Month in conjunction with Black Futures Month at HBW. Each day we will feature works from our archives that celebrate the glory that is #BlackExcellence and the Black freedom movement.