Joel Chandler Harris is the author of the well-known Uncle Remus tales, stories that he collected from slaves on a Southern plantation. He was born in Georgia in 1848 to his single mother, and had to work from an early age. Harris' first venture into the workforce was for Joseph Addison Turner, a newspaper owner to whom Harris was apprenticed. Turner took Harris to his plantation, where he first encountered the rich folktales of the slaves. He kept a sharp ear for these stories, retaining the dialect in which he heard them spoken. Harris soon began releasing these slave stories to newspapers, attributing them to an elderly slave named Uncle Remus. The first volume of "Uncle Remus'" tales appeared in 1881, followed by many more with increasing popularity.
Harris continued writing books rather than his earlier occupation with the newspaper, and his style of literature is likened to that of his friend Mark Twain. Both men convey ideas and principles through their works by using local color, creating interest for those unfamiliar with those types of culture. As a writer, Harris not only brought out the humorous folktales of slave culture, but also addressed the tragedy of his times through some of his later works, such as Free Joe and Daddy Jake the Runaway. These works intimate that Harris was sensitive to the struggles in all levels of society, having come from difficult conditions himself, yet with grace and humor. Harris died of health complications at Wren's Nest, his Atlanta home where he lived with his wife, Mary Esther LaRose Harris.
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