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Literary Works by African-American Authors

African-Americans have created a rich and diverse literary culture from the time of the slave narrative to today, with its own literary movements and tropes often tackling subjects such as racism, slavery, family, religion, and class. This index collects this literature.

Themes of racial identity may also take precedence - older works tend to deal with the complexities of passing and modern works tend to deal with assimilation versus keeping one's identity, and class divides within the community. Contemporary fiction may focus on colorism, feminism, the centrality of the church, and urban life. Historical fiction may deal with slavery, Jim Crow, the great migration, the Pan Africanism movement, and the Civil Rights movement.

Notable movements include the Harlem Renaissance and The Black Arts movement.

Speculative Fiction may draw on Afro Futurist themes, avert Humans Are White and In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race. They may also feature No Equal Opportunity Time Travel and Persecution Flip. They may be influenced by steampunk (sometimes called 'steamfunk') or sword and sorcery (sometimes called 'sword and soul'.

Some works make use of African American Vernacular English and others employ characters that code switch.

Compare African Literature. This index includes American authors of African descent only.


Literature:


Short Stories:

  • "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin
  • "Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self" by Danielle Evans
  • "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" by Z.Z. Packer


Speculative Fiction:


Poetry:

  • The works of Langston Hughes
  • Maya Angelou
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Nikki Giovanni
  • Wanda Conley
  • Phyllis Wheatley


Theater:


Urban Fiction:


Juvenile and YA Fiction:


Alternative Title(s):

African American Literature