Classic African-American Fiction
Beloved , by Toni Morrison (1987)
- Sethe is an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved. Made as a feature film in 1999, starring Oprah Winfrey.
- The Bluest Eye , by Toni Morrison (1969)
- This is the story of Pecola Breedlove, an eleven-year-old African-American girl growing up in a country that values blue-eyed blondes and the tragedy that results from her longing to be accepted.
- Brown Girl, Brownstones , by Paule Marshall (1959)
- Selina Boyce, the daughter of immigrants from Barbados, becomes aware of her passions as she grows to womanhood in Brooklyn and experiences the conflict between two cultures.
- The Color Purple , by Alice Walker (1982)
- Two African American sisters, one a missionary in Africa and the other a child-wife living in the South, support each other through their correspondence, beginning in the 1920s. Made as a feature film in 1985, starring Danny Glover.
- Echo of Lions , by Barbara Chase-Riboud (1989)
- In 1839, Joseph Cinque, a captured African sculptor and warrior, leads a rebellion on the slave ship on which he is imprisoned, and he is tried in the United States.
- Faith and the Good Thing , by Charles R. Johnson (1974)
- Readers follow Faith Cross's journey from her mother's Baptist funeral, to a life of prostitution, and later to a loveless marriage in Chicago, as she searches for what her mother called "the Good Thing."
- A Gathering of Old Men , by Ernest Gaines (1983)
- Set on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation in the 1970s, A Gathering of Old Men is a powerful depiction of racial tensions arising over the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man.
- Go Tell it on the Mountain , by James Baldwin (1953)
- Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, starkly contrasting the attitudes of two generations of an embattled family, Go Tell It On The Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and of a society confronting inevitable change. Also available as a made-for-TV film , starring Paul Winfield.
- Invisible Man , by Ralph Ellison (1952)
- The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood," and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.
- Long Distance Life , by Marita Golden (1989 )
- A woman flees the South of the 1920's to join the Black migration Northward, marries a black rationalist and has a daughter, who returns to the South to fight for civil rights and find her own identity.
- Meridian , by Alice Walker (1976)
- A black woman who grew up amid prejudice and poverty in the South finds comfort and strength in the civil-rights movement.
- The Salt Eaters , by Toni Cade Bambara (1980)
- As she sits in an infirmary and is questioned by a faith healer, Velma Henry probes her reasons for attempting to commit suicide, and the healing that takes place affects the lives of her town's Black inhabitants.
- Sent for You Yesterday , by John Edgar Wideman (1983)
- Lucy and Carl struggle to prevent the extinction of the Black community of Homewood and to keep alive the musical heritage of the blues piano player, Albert Wilkes.
- A Visitation of Spirits , by Randall Kenan (1989 )
- Seduced by the dark side of his dreams, sixteen-year-old Harold Cross is overwhelmed and terrified when demons tear his soul from his body and take it on a journey through his past.
- The Women of Brewster Place , by Gloria Naylor (1982)
- The stories of seven Black women living in an urban ghetto evoke the energy, brutality, compassion, and desolation of modern Black America. Also available as a feature film , from 1988, starring Oprah Winfrey.
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