Posted on 07/14/2015

Photo taken on July  5, 2015

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Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton Georgia

Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton Georgia
The Uncle Remus Museum is a unique
reminder of the folklore and heritage of the
antebellum South. The museum is located in
Eatonton, Georgia.

Uncle Remus was a character created by
Joel Chandler Harris, who grew up in and
around Eatonton during the Civil War era. An
elderly slave who amuses a young boy by
telling stories that bring the animals of the
area to life, Uncle Remus was a beloved
character to generations of Americans. He is
best remembered by many from the Disney
movie, "Song of the South."

The story of Joel Chandler Harris is a special
part of the culture of the South. Born in
Putnam County, of which Eatonton is the
county seat, in 1848, he was raised by a
single mother. The two lived in a state of
extreme poverty, but also one of hope.

Harris and his mother did not own slaves
and in many ways he was the face of the
antebellum South that many choose not to
remember today. In simple fact, poor families
made up of good, hard-working people like
Mrs. Harris and her son were much more
common in the Old South than were the rich,
slave-holding and aristocratic families like
those portrayed in "Gone With the WInd" and
"North and South."

As a boy, Joel Chandler Harris spent much
time hanging around the Eatonton Post
Office. He was fascinated with books and
literature and the people of the community
encouraged him by passing along second-
hand newspapers and magazines. When he
was 13-years-old, as the first year of the Civil
War swept across the land, Harris was hired
as a "printer's devil" by local plantation owner
Joseph Addison Turner.

Turner published what is thought to have
been the only plantation-based newspaper in
the Old South. He took great interest in Harris
and guided him in his literary development,
letting him write for the paper and tutoring
him as well.

Just three years later Harris watched as the
troops of General William Tecumseh
Sherman looted Eatonton as they passed
through on their March to the Sea. The South
he had known was forever changed.

Using the skills he had learned under
Turner, Harris set off on a newspaper career.
He worked in cities from New Orleans to
Savannah before settling in Atlanta to work
for the Atlanta Constitution.

Harris quickly established a reputation as a
voice of the New South. In his writings he
urged Southerners to rebuild from the Civil
War and crusaded against the racial violence
fostered by the abuses of Reconstruction.

Harris is best remembered, however, for his
Uncle Remus stories. Contrary to the beliefs
of some modern writers, these were based
not just on African American folktales, but on
Native American fables as well. He absorbed
the foundations of these tales from elderly
story tellers who often weaved such stories
around the slave cabins of the Turnwald
Plantation (nine miles east of Eatonton).