“A Dark-Brown Dog” and “The Reluctant Voyagers” by Stephen Crane

The first story, “A Dark-Brown Dog” is an allegory of the Jim Crow South. For decades after the Civil War, African Americans remained in serf-like conditions, beholden to an employer or landowner, lacking basic rights. White supremacy campaigns surged. Federal protections were established to offer basic civil rights (Amendments 13-15, called the Reconstruction Amendments). But it was the state and local “Jim Crow” laws in the Southern states which were the ultimate authority, represented by the father in the story. African Americans’ ongoing mistreatment, with the promise and hope of a better life, is represented by the wife. Younger generation white Southerners with good intentions represent the child. History always seems to want to show us how little things have changed. But change it must. The second story, “The Reluctant Voyagers” is a light-hearted bit of fluff to cheer you up after the first story. Enjoy!

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