In the aftermath of the Civil War, siblings Rena and John Walden seek a better life for themselves by passing as white in their new home state of South Carolina. John’s success as an attorney and marriage to a white Southerner help cement his own place, but Rena’s engagement to John’s best friend brings a new level of scrutiny that threatens to expose them both. As the rewards increase, so does the risk, and ultimately, the color line seems determined to re-exert itself.
Charles W. Chesnutt’s masterwork offers a subtle and penetrating look at the insidious nature of Reconstruction-era racism and shows how forcefully that racism separated Americans from their dreams.
Revised edition: Previously published as The House Behind the Cedars, this edition of The House Behind the Cedars (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.