Fayetteville State University (FSU) will host a symposium honoring Charles W. Chesnutt. The symposium will also include the unveiling of the United States Postal Service's 41-cent stamp honoring the author. The stamp is part of the "Black Heritage Series."
The symposium will be held January 23, 2008 from 1 - 5 p.m. in the J.C. Jones Board Room of the Charles W. Chesnutt Library. The public is invited to attend.
Scheduled to participate in the symposium will be Dr. Juliette B. Bell, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at FSU. Also participating will be Ms. Delois Pritchett, a fourth-generation relative of Chesnutt. Following Pritchett will be the unveiling of the stamp.
The first presentation and discussion during the symposium will feature Professor William L. Andrews from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt. Professor Andrews will present "Charles Chesnutt's Double Consciousness." FSU Professor Peter Valenti and author of Reading the Landscape, will present "Chesnutt's Patesville: Imagining Fayetteville."
The second presentation and discussion features Professor SallyAnn Ferguson from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and author/editor of the New Riverside Edition, Charles W. Chesnutt: Selected Writings. Professor Ferguson will present "Chesnutt's Morality." Professor Charles Duncan of Peace College and author of The Absent Man: The Narrative Craft of Charles W. Chesnutt, will present "Charles Chesnutt: Old Forms, New Stories."
Following the presentations will be a screening of the film "Veiled Aristocrats" (Oscar Micheaux, 1932, 44 mins.) based on Chesnutt's novel The House Behind the Cedars. A discussion will follow the film screening.
Charles W. Chesnutt, widely recognized as a pioneering author who explored color boundaries more than a century ago, will become the 31st African-American to get his own stamp.
Chesnutt was born in 1858 in Cleveland to parents who were "free persons of color" from Fayetteville. Chesnutt's paternal grandfather was a white slaveholder. Although Chesnutt had a mixed heritage, he could pass as a white man easily enough - something he only tried once as a teenager.
After the Civil War, Chesnutt's family returned to Fayetteville, where they owned and operated a grocery store.
Chesnutt began his schooling at 8. At 16, he became a student-teacher to help support his family after his mother's death. After further study and teaching, Chesnutt eventually became the assistant principal of the "normal school" in Fayetteville - the precursor to Fayetteville State University.
For more information, please call (910) 672-1474.