This collection of stort stories counts as my BODY PART in the title of the What's In A Name 2 Reading Challenge.
Paul Dunbar was the son of slaves, but he was very lucky by receiving a great education. He wrote about the African-American experience during Reconstruction.
I recently complained that Gone with the Wind really didn't give voice to the lives of the former slaves and any thoughts that they had.
Well, this collection is complete opposite. White people appear, but they are not central to the plot.
But, you must be prepared for the writing. When the African-Americans speak, what is written down is their version of English. It will take concentration to read these portions, so don't be tired or sleepy when you pick up this book.
My two favorite stories are: The Triumph of Ol' Mis' Pease and The Interference of Patsy Ann.
Mis' Pease was a church lady. She divorced her husband and he remarried too quickly for her tastes. Everyone took sides in the matter and she managed to bother the 2nd wife, without seeming to be un-Christian-like. The final revenge happened when Mis' Pease died. I was laughing so loudly! (If you want to know what happens, shot me an email. I don't want to give more away.)
Patsy Ann is the oldest daughter, raising her siblings, since her mom died. One day, a neighbor tells her to make sure that her dad doesn't remarry, otherwise the stepmother will be evil. She and the children run away (but not too far, since they didn't pack much to eat or drink) and later meet a nice lady, who tells them that not all stepparents are horrible.
There are also stories of men: a farmer becomes successful, despite not accepting the offer of help from his former master, a politician starts off with good intentions, but is corrupted by power, and the homecoming of a resident of a small town who graduated from college. Plus, 12 other stories are in this collection.
These stories give an idea of what it was like living in freedom, with the pleasure of making decisions and living with the consequences of those choices.
A great read for anytime of the year!