In 1880, Joel Chandler Harris, a moderate white Southern journalist, published a collection of black folktales, proverbs, songs, and character sketches based on stories he had heard as a child. In his introduction, Robert Hemenway discusses the book's enduring popularity, pointing out that the character of Uncle Remus, the docile and grandfatherly ex-slave storyteller, is a utopian figure-a literary creation by Harris that reassured white readers during the tense and tentative Reconstruction. By contrast, the feisty Brer Rabbit was a mainstay of black folklore long before Harris heard of his exploits. Brer Rabbit's cunning and revolutionary antics symbolically inverted the slave-master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people. Book jacket.