Why is he called Br’er Rabbit?
Br’er Rabbit is short for “Brother Rabbit”. He’s a rabbit who tricks people. But sometimes he gets tricked himself! Br’er Rabbit is a lot like the African Anansi the Spider.
Anansi the Spider
Buddhist Jataka Tales
All American history articles
Bre’r Rabbit is also like the rabbit in earlier Creek and Cherokee stories. Some of his stories may go back to much earlier Buddhist Jataka Tales from India, or even further.
African-Americans and Br’er Rabbit
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. Many African people were working as slaves planting rice and picking cotton in Georgia and Louisiana, and they met Cherokee people there. So the stories mixed together.
Cotton and slavery
Who were the Cherokee?
A Cherokee newspaper
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 Br’er Rabbit stories for you
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.
Bibliography and further reading about Br’er Rabbit stories:
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