After living for many years in France, the wealthy and sophisticated Paul Marchand, a Free Man of Color, returns to his home in New Orleans. He discovers through a will that he is white and is now head of a prosperous and influential family. Since mixed-race marriages are illegal in Louisiana, he must renounce his mulatto wife and bastardize his children.
Charles W. Chesnutt wrote this novel at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance but set it in the past, a time and place favored by George Washington Cable. Published now for the first time, Paul Marchand, F. M. C. examines the system of race and caste in nineteenth-century New Orleans. Chesnutt reacts against the traditional stance that fiction by leading American writers of the previous generation had taken on the issue of miscegenation.
Chesnutt resolves Marchand’s dilemma with a surprising plo