Charles Chesnutt: An African American First

Born in June, 1858, Charles Chesnutt was the first African-American to publish a novel.  In addition to his writing, Chesnutt owned a successful court stenography business and passed the Ohio bar exam.  He was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1928 "for distinguished literary service to African-Americans."  In addition to his literary career, Chesnutt served on the founding General Committee of the NAACP.  Petworth Library has a display of books by and about Charles Chesnutt, including:


Journals of Charles W. Chesnutt Charles Chesnutt Reappraised
Journals of Charles W. Chesnutt Charles Chesnutt Reappraised 
Conjure Stories Absent Man
Conjure Stories Absent Man