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The 101 Most Influential Novels Written by African Americans

The authors & editors listed below are excellent sources of general information for research on African American History.

BlackPast.org would like to thank Professor Lawrence P. Jackson of the English Department at Emory University for his help in compiling this list. Text sources include William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster and Trudier Harris, eds., The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Melvin Donaldson, Cornerstones: An Anthology of African American Literature (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996); Henry Louis Gates and Nellie Y. McKay, eds., The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997); Patricia Liggins Hill, ed., Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998); Max Rodriguez, Angeli R. Rasbury, and Carol Taylor, eds., Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1999).


View Entire Site Bibliography



EditorAuthorsort iconBook/Article TitleAmazon Availability
Baldwin, JamesJust Above My HeadYes
Baldwin, JamesAnother CountryYes
Baldwin, JamesGo Tell It on the MountainYes
Baldwin, JamesIf Beale Street Could TalkYes
Baldwin, JamesTell Me How Long the Train’s Been GoneYes
Baldwin, JamesGiovanni’s RoomYes
Bambara, Toni CadeThe Salt Eaters: A NovelYes
Bontemps, ArnaBlack ThunderYes
Brown, LloydIron City: A NovelYes
Brown, William Wells . Clotel, or, The President’s DaughterYes
Butler, OctaviaKindredYes
Chase-Riboud, BarbaraSally Hemings: A NovelYes
Chesnutt, Charles WaddellThe Marrow of TraditionYes
Chesnutt, Charles WaddellThe House Behind the CedarsYes
Childress, AliceA Hero Ain’t Nothing But a SandwichYes
Demby, WilliamBeetlecreekYes
Demby, WilliamThe Catacombs
Du Bois, W.E.B.The Quest of the Silver FleeceYes
Dunbar, Paul LawrenceThe Sport of the GodsYes
Ellison, RalphInvisible ManYes
Fauset, Jessie RedmonThe Chinaberry TreeYes
Fauset, Jessie RedmonPlum BunYes
Fisher, RudolphWalls of Jericho Yes
Fisher, RudolphThe Conjure Man DiesYes
Gaines, ErnestA Lesson Before DyingYes
Gaines, ErnestThe Autobiography of Miss Jane PittmanYes
Greenlee, SamThe Spook Who Sat By the DoorYes
Harper, Frances Ellen WatkinsIola LeroyYes
Harris, E. LynnJust As I AmYes
Himes, ChesterIf He Hollers, Let Him GoYes
Himes, ChesterLonely CrusadeYes
Himes, ChesterThe Third Generation: A Novel Yes
Hopkins, PaulineContending ForcesYes
Hurston, Zora NealeJonah’s Gourd VineYes
Hurston, Zora NealeTheir Eyes Were Watching GodYes
Johnson, CharlesFaith and the Good ThingYes
Johnson, CharlesMiddle PassageYes
Johnson, CharlesThe Oxherding Tale Yes
Johnson, James WeldonThe Autobiography of an Ex Colored Man Yes
Jones, GaylCorregidoraYes
Jordon, JuneHis Own WhereYes
Kelley, William M.A Different DrummerYes
Kelley, William MelvilleDunsfords Travels EverywhereYes
Killens, John Oliver 'SippiYes
Killens, John OliverAnd Then We Heard The ThunderYes
Killens, John OliverYoungbloodYes
Killens, John OliverThe Cotillion Yes
Kinkaid, JamaicaThe Autobiography of My Mother Yes
Larsen, NellaPassingYes
Larsen, NellaQuicksandYes
Lattany, Kristen HunterThe Lakestown RebellionYes
Lourde, AudreZami: A New Spelling of My NameYes
Marshall, PauleBrown Girl, BrownstonesYes
Marshall, PaulePraisesong for the WidowYes
Marshall, PauleThe Chosen Place, The Timeless People Yes
McMillan, TerryWaiting to ExhaleYes
McMillan, TerryHow Stella Got Her Groove BackYes
Meriwether, LouiseFragments of the ArkYes
Morrison, ToniJazzYes
Morrison, ToniSong of SolomonYes
Morrison, ToniSulaYes
Morrison, ToniTar BabyYes
Morrison, ToniThe Bluest Eye Yes
Morrison, ToniBelovedYes
Mosley, WalterDevil in a Blue DressYes
Motley, WillardKnock on Any DoorYes
Murray, Albert The Spyglass TreeYes
Murray, AlbertTrain Whistle Guitar Yes
Naylor, GloriaLinden HillsYes
Naylor, GloriaThe Women of Brewster PlaceYes
Petry, AnnThe Narrows Yes
Petry, AnnThe Street Yes
Redding, J. SaundersStranger and AloneYes
Reed, IshmaelJapanese By SpringYes
Reed, IshmaelMumbo JumboYes
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