Chesnutt's stories were more complex than those of many of his contemporaries. He wrote about characters dealing with difficult issues of mixed race, "passing," illegitimacy, racial identities, and social place throughout his career. The issues were especially pressing during the social volatility of Reconstruction and late 19th-century southern society.
The Conjure Woman is the title of an 1899 collection of seven stories by Charles W. Chesnutt, an important African American writer from the post-Civil War South; it was his first book. The stories deal with the racial issues facing the South after the war, often through the comments of the character of Uncle Julius McAdoo, a freed slave who tells these stories to a white couple from the North, John and Annie.