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100 Essential Black Books

( QBR: The Black Book Review )









Blues People: Negro Music in White America
by Amiri Baraka

9780688184742Amiri Baraka; Leroi JonesBlues People: Negro Music in White America"The path the slave took to 'citizenship' is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz... [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music." So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
ML3556 .J73




The Life of Langston Hughes
by Arnold Rampersad

9780195054262Arnold RampersadThe Life of Langston Hughes, 1902-1941: I, Too, Sing AmericaPoet, playwright, novelist, and a grand figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Langston Hughes stands as one of the most extraordinary and prolific American writers of this century. As the first installment of a two-volume biography, this portrait of Langston Hughes depicts hislife from his birth in Missouri in 1902 to the winter of 1941. Rampersad recounts Hughes' early days in Kansas as a child of a family steeped in radical Abolitionism, with an ancestor who fought and died at Harper's Ferry in John Brown's band. Taught by his aged grandmother to revere freedom and justice, he nevertheless led a lonely life as a child. Hismother left him in his grandmother's care while trying unsuccessfully to launch a career in the theater, and his father--a black man who seemed to hate blacks--abandoned him to find a business career in Mexico. Hughes grew into a highly disciplined and yet restless adult who found personal salvationin poetry. Inspired by both the democratic chants of Walt Whitman and the vibrant forms of Afro-American culture, Hughes became the most original and revered of black poets. Rampersad's study traces the nomadic, yet dedicated spirit that led him--as a young man--to Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Africa, Europe,the Soviet Union, China, and Japan, as well as all over the United States. During his travels, Hughes cultivated associations with a dazzling range of political activists, patrons, and fellow artists, including Paul Robeson, Zora Neale Hurston, Carl Van Vechten, Lincoln Steffens, Nancy Cunard,Ernest Hemingway, and Claude McKay. Based on exhaustive research in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University's Beinecke Library, Rampersad's masterful work presents a vivid portrait of one of our greatest writers and a sweeping panorama of culture and history in theearly twentieth century. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3515.U274 Z698 & ONLINE




Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
by Audre Lorde

9781580911863Audre Lorde; Cheryl Clarke (Foreword by)Sister Outsider: Essays and SpeechesPresenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published. These landmark writings are, in Lorde's own words, a call to "never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is..." "[Lorde's] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware." -- New York Times - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3562.O75 S5




Fences
by August Wilson

9780452264014August Wilson; Lloyd Richards (Introduction by)FencesFrom legendary playwright August Wilson comes the powerful, stunning dramatic bestseller that won him critical acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize. Troy Maxson is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less. This is a modern classic, a book that deals with the impossibly difficult themes of race in America, set during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Now an Academy Award-winning film directed by and starring Denzel Washington , along with Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Viola Davis. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3573.I45677 F4 1986 (North)
Publication Date:
1987




Sally Hemings: A Novel
by Barbara Chase-Riboud

9781556529450Barbara Chase-RiboudSally Hemings: A NovelOne of the greatest love stories in American history is also one of the most controversial. Thomas Jefferson had a mistress for 38 years whom he loved and lived with until he died--the beautiful and elusive Sally Hemings. But it was not simply that Jefferson had a mistress that provoked such a scandal in both his time and ours. It was that Sally Hemings was a quadroon slave and that Jefferson fathered a slave family whose descendants are alive today. In this moving novel, originally published in 1979 and having sold over two million copies worldwide, Barbara Chase-Riboud re-creates one of America's most powerful love stories, based on the documents and evidence of the day, and gives us a poignant, tragic, and unforgettable meditation on the history of race and sex in America. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
HISTORICAL FICTION CHA
Publication Date:
1979







Up from Slavery
by Booker T. Washington

9780192835628Booker T. Washington; William L. Andrews (Editor, Introduction by)Up from Slavery: An Authoritative Text, Contexts and Composition History, Criticism`My life had its beginning in the midst of the most miserable, desolate, and discouraging surroundings.' For half a century from its publication in 1901 Up from Slavery was the best known book written by an African American. The life of ex-slave Booker T Washington embodied the legendary rise of the American self-made man, and his autobiography gave prominence for the first time to the voice of agroup which had to pull itself up from extreme adversity. Washington attributes his success to his belief in many of the virtues celebrated by Benjamin Franklin: selflessness, industry, pragmatism, and optimism. But from behind the mask of the humble, plainspoken schoolmaster come hints thatreveal Washington the ambitious and tough-minded analyst of power who had to balance the demands of blacks with the constraints imposed on him by whites. To read Up from Slavery is to explore the means by which Washington rose to become the most influential and powerful black American of his time. How far he compromised African American rights in order to achieve his aims remains a matter of controversy. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E185.97 .W4 A3 OR
Publication Date:
1901




The Black Jacobins: Toussaint LOuverture and the San Domingo Revolution
by C.L.R. James

9780679724674C. L. R. JamesThe Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo RevolutionA classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
F1923 .T85




Mis-Education of the Negro
by Carter G. Woodson

9780913543702Carter G. Woodson; Jawanza Kunjufu (Introduction by)The Mis-Education of the NegroOriginally released in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro continues to resonate today, raising questions that readers are still trying to answer. The impact of slavery on the Black psyche is explored and questions are raised about our education system, such as what and who African Americans are educated for, the difference between education and training, and which of these African Americans are receiving. Woodson provides solutions to these challenges, but these require more study, discipline, and an Afrocentric worldview. This new edition contains a biographical profile of the author, a new introduction, and study questions. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
LC2717 .W6 2000




If He Hollers Let Him Go
by Chester Himes

9781560254454Chester B. Himes; Hilton Als (Foreword by)If He Hollers Let Him Go: A NovelA powerful story of racism that's as pertinent today as when the book was first published This story of a man living every day in fear of his life for simply being black is as powerful today as it was when it was first published in 1947. The novel takes place in the space of four days in the life of Bob Jones, a black man who is constantly plagued by the effects of racism. Living in a society that is drenched in race consciousness has no doubt taken a toll on the way Jones behaves, thinks, and feels, especially when, at the end of his story, he is accused of a brutal crime he did not commit. "One of the most important American writers of the twentieth century . . . [a] quirky American genius . . ."--Walter Mosley, author of Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Devil in a Blue Dress " If He Hollers is an austere and concentrated study of black experience, set in southern California in the early forties."-- Independent Publisher - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3515.I713 I3 2002




Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

9780385474542Chinua AchebeThings Fall Apart "A true classic of world literature . . . A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world." --Barack Obama Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read Things Fall Apart is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed African Trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order. With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages, Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village, he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
Leisure - Multicultural ACH OR PR9387.9.A3 T5



















The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
by Ernest Gaines

9780553263572Ernest J. GainesThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman"This is a novel in the guise of the tape-recorded recollections of a black woman who has lived 110 years, who has been both a slave and a witness to the black militancy of the 1960's. In this woman Ernest Gaines has created a legendary figure, a woman equipped to stand beside William Faulkner's Dilsey in The Sound And The Fury ." Miss Jane Pittman, like Dilsey, has 'endured,' has seen almost everything and foretold the rest. Gaines' novel brings to mind other great works The Odyssey for the way his heroine's travels manage to summarize the American history of her race, and Huckleberry Finn for the clarity of her voice, for her rare capacity to sort through the mess of years and things to find the one true story in it all." -- Geoffrey Wolff, Newsweek . "Stunning. I know of no black novel about the South that excludes quite the same refreshing mix of wit and wrath, imagination and indignation, misery and poetry. And I can recall no more memorable female character in Southern fiction since Lena of Faulkner's Light In August than Miss Jane Pittman." -- Josh Greenfeld, Life - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3557.A355 A8







Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Written By Himself
by Frederick Douglass

9780300087017John W. Blassingame (Editor); John R. McKivigan (Editor); Peter P. Hinks (Editor); Frederick DouglassNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by HimselfFrederick Douglass's autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, is widely regarded as a classic of American nineteenth-century history, of African-American studies, and of literature. In 1845, just seven years after his escape from slavery, the young Douglass published this powerful account of his life as a slave and his triumph over oppression. The book, which marked the beginning of Douglass's career as an impassioned writer, journalist, and orator for the abolitionist cause, reveals the terrors he faced as a slave, the brutalities of his owners and overseers, and his harrowing escape to the North. This edition of the book, based on the authoritative text that appears in Yale University Press's multivolume edition of the Frederick Douglass Papers , is the only edition of Douglass's Narrative designated as an Approved Text by the Modern Language Association's Committee on Scholarly Editions. It includes a chronology of Douglass's life, a thorough introduction by the eminent Douglass scholar John Blassingame, historical notes, and reader responses to the first edition of 1845. "None so dramatically as Douglass integrated both the horror and the great quest of the African-American experience into the deep stream of American autobiography. He advanced and extended that tradition and is rightfully designated one of its greatest practitioners."--John W. Blassingame, from the introduction - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E449 .D749
Publication Date:
1845




Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
by George Jackson

9781556522307George Jackson; Jonathan Jackson (Foreword by); Jean Genet (Introduction by)Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George JacksonA collection of Jackson's letters from prison, Soledad Brother is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that fuiled to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson's letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled black men in America's prisons in the 1960s. But even removed from the social and political firestorms of the 1960s, Jackson's story still resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
HV9468 .J3 & Online



















The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin

9780679744726James BaldwinThe Fire Next TimeA national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E185.61 .B1954
Publication Date:
1963
















A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry

9780679601722Lorraine Hansberry; Robert Nemiroff (Introduction by)A Raisin in the Sun"Never before, the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage," observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959. Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever.nbsp;nbsp;The play's title comes from a line in Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem," which warns that a dream deferred might "dry up/like a raisin in the sun." "The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun ," said The New York Times .nbsp;nbsp;"It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic."nbsp;nbsp;This Modern Library edition presents the fully restored, uncut version of Hansberry's landmark work with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3515.A515 R3 1995




The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

9780345379757Malcolm X; Alex Haley (As told to)The Autobiography of Malcolm XONE OF TIME 'S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America. Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X "Malcolm X's autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will." --Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father "Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book." -- The New York Times "A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth." -- The Nation "The most important book I'll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn't know I had inside me. I'm one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better." --Spike Lee "This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle." --I. F. Stone - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
BP223.Z8 L57943
Publication Date:
1965




I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

9780375507892Maya Angelou; Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by)I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters . Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age--and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. " I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity."--James Baldwin - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3551 .N464 Z466 2002
Publication Date:
1969




Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
by Michele Wallace

9781859842966Michele WallaceBlack Macho and the Myth of the SuperwomanOriginally published in 1978, this book caused a storm of controversy as Michele Wallace blasted the masculinist bias of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power and the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. In 1990 the author added a new introduction examining the debate the book had sparked between intellectuals and political leaders; an extensive bibliography of contemporary black feminist studies was also added. Black Macho raised issues and arguments that framed the terms of current feminist and black theory and continues to be relevant today. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E185.86 .W34
Publication Date:
1978




Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
by Nell Irvin Painter

9780393317084Nell Irvin PainterSojourner Truth: A Life, a SymbolSojourner Truth first gained prominence at an 1851 Akron, Ohio, women's rights conference, saying, "Dat man over dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches. . . . Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles . . . and ar'n't I a woman?"Sojourner Truth: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist, figure of imposing physique, riveting preacher and spellbinding singer who dazzled listeners with her wit and originality. Straight-talking and unsentimental, Truth became a national symbol for strong black women--indeed, for all strong women. Like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, she is regarded as a radical of immense and enduring influence; yet, unlike them, what is remembered of her consists more of myth than of personality.Now, in a masterful blend of scholarship and sympathetic understanding, eminent black historian Nell Irvin Painter goes beyond the myths, words, and photographs to uncover the life of a complex woman who was born into slavery and died a legend. Inspired by religion, Truth transformed herself from a domestic servant named Isabella into an itinerant pentecostal preacher; her words of empowerment have inspired black women and poor people the world over to this day. As an abolitionist and a feminist, Truth defied the notion that slaves were male and women were white, expounding a fact that still bears repeating: among blacks there are women; among women, there are blacks.No one who heard her speak ever forgot Sojourner Truth, the power and pathos of her voice, and the intelligence of her message. No one who reads Painter's groundbreaking biography will forget this landmark figure and the story of her courageous life. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E185.97.T8 P35




For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf
by Ntozake Shange

9780684843261Ntozake ShangeFor Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is EnufA revolutionary, award-winning play by a lauded playwright and poet about the experiences of women of color. From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for "encompassing...every feeling and experience a woman has ever had," for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3569.H3324 F6 1997







The Interesting Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano
by Olaudah Equiano

9780312442033Olaudah Equiano; Robert J. Allison (Editor)The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by HimselfWidely admired for its vivid accounts of the slave trade, Olaudah Equiano's autobiography -- the first slave narrative to attract a significant readership -- reveals many aspects of the eighteenth-century Western world through the experiences of one individual. The second edition reproduces the original London printing, supervised by Equiano in 1789. Robert J. Allison's introduction, which places Equiano's narrative in the context of the Atlantic slave trade, has been revised and updated to reflect the heated controversy surrounding Equiano's birthplace, as well as the latest scholarship on Atlantic history and the history of slavery. Improved pedagogical features include contemporary illustrations with expanded captions and a map showing Equiano's travels in greater detail. Helpful footnotes provide guidance throughout the eighteenth-century text, and a chronology and an up-to-date bibliography aid students in their study of this thought-provoking narrative. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
HT869 .E6 A3 2013
Publication Date:
1789




Praisesong For The Widow
by Paule Marshall

9780452267114Paule MarshallPraisesong for the Widow"Astonishingly moving."--Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review "A work of exceptional wisdom, maturity, and generosity, one in which the palpable humanity of its characters transcends any considerations of race or sex."-- Washington Post Book World "There is no limit to the kind of readership to which this novel will appeal."-- Booklist Avey Johnson--a black, middle-aged, middle-class widow given to hats, gloves, and pearls--has long since put behind her the Harlem of her childhood. Then on a cruise to the Caribbean with two friends, inspired by a troubling dream, she senses her life beginning to unravel--and in a panic packs her bag in the middle of the night and abandons her friends at the next port of call. The unexpected and beautiful adventure that follows provides Avey with the links to the culture and history she has so long disavowed. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3563.A7223 P7 1983




Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

9780679601395Ralph Ellison; Charles Johnson (Preface by)Invisible ManSelected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time * Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. 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. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land , Joyce, and Dostoevsky. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3555.L625 I5 1994
Publication Date:
1952




Black Boy
by Richard Wright

9780061130243Richard WrightBlack Boy"Superb. . . .A great American writer speaks with his own voice about matters that still resonate at the center of our lives." -- New York Times Book Review Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi amid poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a "drunkard," hanging about in taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot. Black Boy is Richard Wright's powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment--a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3545 .R815 Z9
Publication Date:
1945




Native Son
by Richard Wright

9780060837563Richard WrightNative SonNow an HBO Film! "If one had to identify the single most influential shaping force in modern Black literary history, one would probably have to point to Wright and the publication of Native Son." - Henry Louis Gates Jr. Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America. This edition--the restored text of Native Son established by the Library of America--also includes an essay by Wright titled, How "Bigger" was Born, along with notes on the text. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3545 .R815 N25




Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City
by St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton

9780226162348St. Clair Drake; Horace R. Cayton; William Julius Wilson (Foreword by); Richard Wright (Introduction by)Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern CityGround-breaking when first published in 1945, Black Metropolis remains a landmark study of race and urban life. Based on a mass of research conducted by Works Progress Administration field workers in the late 1930s, it is a historical and sociological account of the people of Chicago's South Side, the classic urban ghetto. Drake and Cayton's findings not only offer a generalized analysis of black migration, settlement, community structure, and black-white race relations in the early part of the twentieth century, but also tell us what has changed in the last hundred years and what has not. This edition includes the original Introduction by Richard Wright and a new Foreword by William Julius Wilson. " Black Metropolis is a rare combination of research and synthesis, a book to be deeply pondered. . . . No one who reads it intelligently can ever believe again that our racial dilemma can be solved by pushing buttons, or by gradual processes which may reach four or five hundred years into the future."--Bucklin Moon, The Nation "This volume makes a great contribution to the building of the future American and the free world."--Louis Wirth, New York Times "By virtue of its range, its labor and its insight, the book seems certain to become a landmark not only in race studies but in the broader field of social anthropology."--Thomas Sancton, New Republic - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
F548.9 .N4 D73 1993
Publication Date:
1945




Waiting to Exhale
by Terry McMillan

9780671537456Terry McMillanWaiting to ExhaleRobin Stokes is a successful insurance professional recovering from a dead-end love affair. They say love is a two-way street. But I don't believe it because the one I've been on for the last two years was a dirt road. After months of depression, shopping, and dating all the wrong men, she's getting by with a little help from her friends-- and still determined to find the Real Thing... Bernadine Harris has the kids, the house, and the BMW, but a young white bookkeeper has her husband. Now, propped by her prescription for Xanax and her first pack of cigarettes in 106 days, she's entering a whole new world... Gloria Matthews owns one of the few stylish beauty salons for black women in Phoenix, and finds solace in religion, her teenage son, other people's hair, and food. Her social and emotional bank accounts are low, but a sweet surprise is about to open up her life... Savannah Jackson is a public relations executive-- educated, attractive, and unmarried. On the verge of moving to her fourth city in fifteen years, she's lobbying the Lord: Could You send me a decent man? Could he be full of zest, and please, a slow, tender, passionate lover-- and could he already be what he aspired to? - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
Leisure Multicultural MCM OR PS3563.C3868 W35




Beloved
by Toni Morrison

9780394535975Toni MorrisonBelovedToni Morrison--author of Song of Solomon and Tar Baby --is a writer of remarkable powers: her novels, brilliantly acclaimed for their passion, their dazzling language and their lyric and emotional force, combine the unassailable truths of experience and emotion with the vision of legend and imagination. It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, 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. Sethe works at "beating back the past," but it is alive in all of them. It keeps Denver fearful of straying from the house. It fuels the sadness that has settled into Baby Suggs' "desolated center where the self that was no self made its home." And to Sethe, the past makes itself heard and felt incessantly: in memories that both haunt and soothe her...in the arrival of Paul D ("There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep"), one of her fellow slaves on the farm where she had once been kept...in the vivid and painfully cathartic stories she and Paul D tell each other of their years in captivity, of their glimpses of freedom...and, most powerfully, in the apparition of Beloved, whose eyes are expressionless at their deepest point, whose doomed childhood belongs to the hideous logic of slavery and who, as daughter, sister and seductress, has now come from the "place over there" to claim retribution for what she lost and for what was taken from her. Sethe's struggle to keep Beloved from gaining full possession of her present--and to throw off the long, dark legacy of her past--is at the center of this profoundly affecting and startling novel. But its intensity and resonance of feeling, and the boldness of its narrative, lift it beyond its particulars so that it speaks to our experience as an entire nation with a past of both abominable and ennobling circumstance. In Beloved, Toni Morrison has given us a great American novel. Toni Morrison was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Literature for Beloved. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3563.O8749 B4










The Souls of Black Folk
by W.E.B. Du Bois

9780375509117W. E. B. Du Bois; David Levering Lewis (Introduction by)The Souls of Black FolkSelected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time When first published in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk struck like a thunderclap, quickly establishing itself as a work that wholly redefined the history of the black experience in America, introducing the now famous "problem of the color line." In decades since, its stature has only grown, and today it ranks as one of the most influential and resonant works in the history of American thought. This centennial edition contains a landmark Introduction by historian David Levering Lewis that brilliantly demonstrates how The Souls of Black Folk remains indispensable not only to an understanding of the history of race and democracy in America but to considerations of the future of racial and cultural comity in the twenty-first century. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
E185.5 .D817 2003 & Online
Publication Date:
1903




Clotel: Or, The Presidents Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States
by William Wells Brown

9780312152659William Wells Brown; Robert Levine (Editor)Clotel - Or, the President's Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United StatesWilliam Wells Brown's Clotel (1853), the first novel written by an African American, was published in London while Brown was still legally regarded as property within the borders of the United States. The novel was inspired by the story of Thomas Jefferson's purported sexual relationship with his slave Sally Hemings. Brown fictionalizes the stories of Jefferson's mistress, daughters, and granddaughters -- all of whom are slaves -- in order to demythologize the dominant U.S. cultural narrative celebrating Jefferson's America as a nation of freedom and equality for all. The documents in this edition include excerpts from Brown's sources for the novel -- fiction, political essays, sermons, and presidential proclamations; selections that illuminate the range of contemporary attitudes concerning race, slavery, and prejudice; and pieces that advocate various methods of resistance and reform. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS1139 .B9 A6 2014
Publication Date:
1853









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All of these titles are compiled in the book Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books, which was published by QBR: The Black Book Review magazine in 1999.

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