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Black Literature

The Black Education Free Encyclopaedia

Black literature is written by black people of African descent, the African Diaspora. Its topics incorporate the study of black characters, black identity, black prejudice and black culture. The first published Black fictional books showed up during the 1800s and was comparable in content to slave self-portrayals.

During the 1970s, Holloway House set up a good foundation for itself as the main distributer of base, brutal, life-as-it-truly is books about making due in the Black metropolitan underclass by distributing crafted by Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines. In 1983, Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple, a novel with regards to an unwed mother persuasively isolated from her youngsters. In 1993, Toni Morrison turned into the primary African-American to be granted the Nobel Prize for writing. She expounded on the existences of individuals of colour in the north in books like Sula and Beloved.

A boom in the depiction of the black person continued to develop in reach and the number of titles focused on African-Americans grew exponentially over ten years. Well known creators incorporate California Cooper, Eric Dickey, Lynn Harris, Terry McMillan, Omar Tyree, and Zane among others. African-American writers today are National Book Award and Pushcart Prize champs. They have been heard through National Public Radio and Oprah’s Book Club.

There’s a big focus on Black Literature for fundamental reasons. The spotlights on Black Literature have tended to focus on the politically-charged, racially-orientated, or complex scholastic records of the Black experience. This has historically prompted a rather negative or one-sided portrayal of Black Literature within the wider population. Black Literature has often been perceived as a catalogue of recorded issues in race relation race relations, subjugation and slavery. The positive aspects of Black Literature have often been overlooked for example a lack of focus on black culture, music, sport, fashion, comedy, intellectual contributions and craftsmanship. In recent years, Black writers have shifted the focus on highlighting such positive aspects of the Black Experience. More contemporary, positive characters are being portrayed in fiction and attempts are made to engage the younger Black audience and wider population to embrace Black Literature.

Black publishers, journalist and authors have all noted all too often that their work is underestimated or marginalised by mainstream media. Even we at Black Education can attest to these experiences as a new black-owned media publisher. We are encountering endless blockages from mainstream companies. As a black publisher it is important to exercise resilience and have a strong determination to succeed. But even with the hurdles, Black literature is thriving.

Here is a list of some of contemporary black novels.

◼︎ Martha Southgate. The Fall of Rome (2002)
As the only African American teacher at an exclusive boy’s boarding school, Jerome Washington is able to hide from his feelings and his past, until a new white female teacher and a bright African American student force him onto a collision course with himself.

◼︎ James McBride. Miracle at St. Anna (2002)
The author tells a story that connects the tragedy of war with the intimate stories of individual soldiers. This novel follows four of the American army’s 92nd Division of all black buffalo soldiers during World War II as they become trapped between forces beyond their control. They find themselves stranded between worlds in a remote Italian village with the German army hidden on one side and their racist American commanding officers on the other. The strange world of the village floats between myth and reality, where belief in magic coexists with the most horrific acts of war. This is also a tale of a mute Italian orphan boy who teaches the American soldiers and Italian villagers that miracles are the results of faith and trust.

◼︎ Donna Hill. An Ordinary Woman (2002)
When Lisa’s new husband Ross has an affair with her best-friend Asha, all three must deal with the heartbreak that
ensues and learn to grow through their pain.

◼︎ Christine Lincoln. Sap Rising (2001)
Lincoln’s debut novel takes us inside the hearts and minds of African-Americans whose lives unfold in a vividly described southern rural landscape. Most are torn between the question of staying where they grew up among friends, neighbours, and the familiar or leaving and striking off into unfamiliar places with strangers. The characters come alive with great depth of insight and emotion.

◼︎ Pearl Cleage. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (1999)
Ada has spent the last ten years living in Atlanta. When she discovers that she’s infected with the HIV virus, she sells her hairdressing business and heads back to her childhood home in Michigan to spend the summer with her recently widowed sister. Once there, she finds herself embroiled with problems such as drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, and an abandoned crack-addicted baby. She also meets a man with a troubled past who just might change her mind about the imprudence of falling in love. Such a catalogue of disasters should make for a maudlin, melodramatic read; however, the author has a very sharp and funny way with her characters so that it isn’t that way at all. Instead, the reader is left with positive, hopeful feelings at the novel’s end.

◼︎ Connie Briscoe. Big Girls Don’t Cry (1996)
The heroine, Naomi Jefferson, experiences the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s from the perspective of a young resident of Washington, DC. Later she experiences college, career, personal relationships, and family strife, all set against the backdrop of contemporary historical events through several decades.

◼︎ Diane McKinney-Whetstone. Tumbling (1996)
Herbie and Noon, a young couple living in Philadelphia in the 1940’s, have the unusual distinction of having had two little girls abandoned on their doorstep, five years apart. A terrible secret from Noon’s past has kept them from consummating their marriage. So, Herbie seeks satisfaction elsewhere, while Noon raises the two girls and devotes herself to the local church and community, especially when it is threatened by outside developers.

◼︎ Kim McLarin. Taming it Down (1998)
Hope Robinson is a talented young reporter in Philadelphia coming to terms with the anger she feels inside through a series of experiences, including an affair with the white boyfriend of a co-worker, a relationship with an Afrocentric journalist, and a trip to Africa.

◼︎ E. Lynn Harris. Just As I Am (1994)
Raymond and Nicole were lovers, until Raymond revealed his bisexuality. Alternating chapters follow each of them, as they try to overcome past (and present) traumas, gain self-acceptance, and find true love.

Black Voices: An Anthology of African-American Literature


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This page was last updated on 20, February, 2022

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