African-American writer Charles Chesnutt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but his family returned to the South after the Civil War, to run a grocery store. He grew up reading a lot and observing the community through the store, and later became a teacher in the Fayetteville area, among other areas in North Carolina and South Carolina. He also learned several languages. He later passed the bar and became a school principal, a scholar, and a writer. He is most thought of as a pioneer on the topic of “social justice,” with stories that focused on race relations.
Chesnutt’s novels include The Conjure Woman (1899), The House Behind the Cedars (1900), and The Marrow of Tradition (1901). He also wrote The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line (1889). Some of his writing was published in Atlantic Monthly, the most prestigious literary magazine of the day. Read about its editor here: Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
According to the Library of America website, www.loa.org, in 1881, he was the superintendent in charge of the Sunday School program, organist, and choirmaster at the Evans Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Fayetteville. The church has the distinction of being known as the second oldest A.M.E. church in America.
Evans Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church is the second stop on our North Carolina Trail!