Touring with MT's Story
Like rock groups with a new album, MT arranged a lecture tour to coincide with the publication of Huck Finn in the winter of 1884-1885. The tour offers an interesting perspective on the novel in its contemporary context for two reasons. First, as a partner MT hired George Washington Cable, the Southern novelist, who in the middle of the tour published a very controversial article called "The Freedman's Case in Equity" protesting the way the post-Reconstruction South was treating former slaves. Second, MT himself made the main part of his onstage performance a reading of the last section of Huck Finn, i.e. the chapters in which Tom and Huck undertake to "free" Jim (who is already, as Tom knows, a "freed man"). I try to tell this story through the material available in the section of the MT site called FREEING THE FREEDMAN. For Wednesday's class, read through this material: i.e. the main page and the 11 items linked off it. Most of these items are short. Cable's essay ("The Freedman's Case") isn't -- but read it all. You don't have to read all of the rebuttal essay by Henry Grady that The Century Magazine published a couple months after Cable's, but read enough of that to get the idea of how the essay defends the logic of the "Jim Crow" system that was emerging in the South (and that Cable was writing to protest).