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Charles Chesnutt's Fayetteville
Item 4 of 14

George Haigh, who would go on to own the Fayetteville Observer, owned a bookstore on the market square during the time that Charles Chesnutt lived in Fayetteville. Chesnutt often visited Haigh's store to talk, debate, and read. It was here that Chesnutt received some of the frankest advice on race and the South.


  • This 1885 Sanborn Map shows the location of George Haigh's bookstore at upper left.

George Haigh (1832-1904) is mentioned frequently in Charles' journals. 

In the 1880 census, Haigh was listed as a 48-year-old bookseller whose parents were born in England. 

Haigh and Chesnutt had several discussions on race and the effects of the war in which Haigh lamented the loss of the old order and the "best colored people" who left Fayetteville prior to the war (134).

Haigh, by no means progressive in his views on race, allowed Charles to spend a great deal of time in his bookstore reading and engaging in conversation with other Fayettevillians.

Haigh, regarding the stratification of the South as unchangeable, ultimately appealed to Chesnutt's own sentiments by insisting that "the only way for a man who doesn't like it to do, is to go away where things are different" (135).

Chesnutt, Charles. The Journals of Charles W. Chesnutt. Ed. Richard H Broadhead. Duke University Press, 1993.