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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

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Activities: Author Activities

Joel Chandler Harris - Selected Archive Items

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[1207] George Harper Houghton, Family of slaves at the Gaines' house (1861),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-4575].
Plans like the Design for $600 Cottage, featured in the archive [3609], reveal that a parlor was perceived as necessary in even the most humble home; yet for many slaves merely having a large-enough home on the plantation on which they worked proved problematic.

[2621] Robertson, Seibert & Shearman, Oh Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny (c. 1859),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-2356].
The image on this tobacco package label is based on a detail from Eastman Johnson's painting Negro Life at the South (also called Old Kentucky Home). Images of happy slaves belied the true working and living conditions faced by slaves in the antebellum South.

[5360] Frances Benjamin Johnston, Joel Chandler Harris (c. 1890-1910),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-103981].
After writing Uncle Remus and His Friends, Joel Chandler Harris continued to work as a journalist until 1902, becoming a self-styled champion of reconciliation between the North and the South and between blacks and whites. In some respects, his ideas about race were enlightened for his time: Harris was a proponent of black education and the fair judgment of people regardless of skin color.

[5735] A. B. Frost, Brer B'ar Tied Hard en Fas (1892),
courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Co.
Illustration of Brer Rabbit tying Brer B'ar to a tree, taken from Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus and His Friends: Old Plantation Stories, Songs, and Ballads with Sketches of Negro Characters. As trickster tales, the African American fables published by Harris contain a subtle critique of oppression.

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