American Negro Folktales
by Richard M. Dorson
A preacher battles a bear, a mother returns from the dead, and a clever servant conducts a Big Feet Contest in this rich anthology of African-American folklore. Scores of humorous and harrowing stories, collected during the mid-twentieth century, tell of talking animals, ghosts, devils, and saints. The first part of the book provides a setting for the fables, in which folklorist Richard M. Dorson discusses their origins and the artistry of storytellers. The second part consists of the tales, which include the adventures of Old Marster and John, supernatural episodes, and comical and satirical anecdotes as well as more realistic accounts of racial injustice. Recounted in the actual words of the narrators, the folktales abound in bold language, memorable imagery, and bittersweet humor that reflect the essence of African-American storytelling traditions.