Br'er Rabbit Stories - American Literature
Welcome to Study Guides!

Br'er Rabbit Stories

Cherokee Advocate printing press
The printing press of the Cherokee Advocate in the 1800s

Br'er Rabbit is short for "Brother Rabbit". He's a rabbit who sometimes tricks people and sometimes gets tricked, like the African Anansi the Spider and like the rabbit in earlier Creek and Cherokee stories. In West Africa and Central Africa, where many of these African-Americans came from, the same kind of stories are sometimes about rabbits. Probably the Br'er Rabbit stories came from mixing of these two earlier kinds of stories in the 1800s AD, when many African people were working as slaves planting rice and picking cotton in Georgia and Louisiana. Many Cherokee people lived there, and so their stories began to mix together. By 1845, Cherokee people had printed the Tar Baby story in their newspaper. White children learned these stories too, and liked them, and by the 1880s white people began to write down Br'er Rabbit stories and get them printed in English and French books.

Some of the best known Br'er Rabbit stories are the stories of the Tar Baby, How Br'er Bear Lost his Tail, and Br'er Rabbit Takes a Ride.

People from Georgia telling these Br'er Rabbit stories out loud. (Scroll down.)

Bibliography and further reading about Br'er Rabbit stories:

Native American Literature
American History home

LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Study Guides
  • Publisher:
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more? is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 23 April, 2017