Great Short Stories by African-American Writers edited by Christine Rudisel and Bob Blaisdell is a historical collection of short stories reflecting African-American Heritage. The stories presented are written between 1895 and 1996 and reflect the cultural history of African-Americans in the United States. The stories are a reflection of history and moral identity of a people. Some stories are simple and humorous like Charles W. Chestnutt’s “Uncle Wellington’s Wives.” Although the characters in this story speak with stereotypical poor English, the writing is professional. There is a wide variety of writers with over two dozen featured, however, Chestnutt and Du Bois are the only two writers I have any experience within this collection.
Some of the stories are simple others carry more of a historical tone. Paul Laurance Dunbar’s “The Scapegoat” (1904) is a portrayal of politics in the post-antebellum south. It captures the system that was built to give representation to the freed black men in the south. Racism and cracks in the system shown in Dorothy West’s “Mammy” written in New York City in 1940.
This collection by Dover Thrift will give the reader an overview and a chance to see the evolution of Africa-American writes. The number of writers and the one hundred plus years of published stories reveal a broad spectrum of literary history in an often overlooked field. An eye-opening book more than worth the $4.50 price tag.