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Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt$
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Susan Prothro Wright and Ernestine Pickens Glass

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604734164

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604734164.001.0001

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On Flags and Fraternities

On Flags and Fraternities

Lessons in History in Charles Chesnutt’s “Po’Sandy”

(p.23) On Flags and Fraternities
Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt

Margaret D. Bauer

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses the issue of flying the Confederate flag and focuses specifically on Charles Waddell Chesnutt’s conjure tale “Po’ Sandy.” In this tale, Chesnutt illuminates clearly how a symbol of the Old South—in this case, a kitchen built off of the main house—cannot be separated from the history of slavery and just represent southern pride or the romantic side of the time period. One should neither ignore the not-so-romantic other side of the coin, nor ignore that the “other” side reveals the illusory nature of the romance. Chesnutt’s short story illustrates that romanticizing the plantation home goes back at least as far as the nineteenth century—for as long as romance writers have used the Old South as a setting for their books and entertained readers with their sentimentalized portrayal of that place and time.

Keywords:   conjure tale, Confederate flag, Old South, history of slavery, southern pride, plantation home

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