Follow Your Leader:" A Study in Race Relations"

Vicky Slagle, Colby College


Novels of social comment which rose to popularity during this thirty year span~ reveal deep insights into the moral and psychological complexities of race relations. Therefore, esoteric writers such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman are substituted by Hentz, Hooper, and Stowe. Bestsellers, sentimental and stock as they may be, disclose widespread attitudes toward blacks. In addition to fiction, various historical, political, and personal accounts of the period color the portrait of 1830-1860. Our problem then is to examine white men's views and versions of black men. These images are hardly ever not diagrammatic and somewhat trite. But men inevitably bend beneath stereotypes, so that these images are useful as a reflection of white culture in its attempt to "justify racial proscription.