African American Authors, 1745-1945

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There has been a dramatic resurgence of interest in early African American writing. Since the accidental rediscovery and republication of Harriet Wilson's Our Nig in 1983, the works of dozens of 19th and early 20th century black writers have been recovered and reprinted. There is now a significant revival of interest in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s; and in the last decade alone, several major assessments of 18th and 19th century African American literature have been published. Early African American literature builds on a strong oral tradition of songs, folktales, and sermons. Slave narratives began to appear during the late 18th and early 19th century, and later writers began to engage a variety of themes in diverse genres.

A central objective of this reference book is to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the first 200 years of African American literature. Included are alphabetically arranged entries for 78 black writers active between 1745 and 1945. Among these writers are essayists, novelists, short story writers, poets, playwrights, and autobiographers. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the author's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. The volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography.

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Editorial Reviews

Scholars of English contribute to the resurgence of interest in African American literature by profiling the lives and works of 78 writers from the first 200 years of the tradition. Among the writers are essayists, novelists, short story writers, poets, playwrights, and autobiographers. Among the better known are Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright. The collection celebrates the creation of one of the world's great literatures by victims of slavery and statutory segregation who were long denied access to literacy and even rudimentary civil rights. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313309106
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/2000
  • Pages: 544
  • Lexile: 1360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

EMMANUEL S. NELSON is Professor of English at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

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Table of Contents


Elizabeth Laura Adams by Joyce Russell-Robinson

Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert by Geetha Ravi

James Madison Bell by Robert L. Milde

Gwendolyn Bennett by Gwendolyn S. Jones

Henry Walton Bibb by Jesse G. Swan

Marita Bonner by Heather E. Spahr

Arna Bontemps by Jacqueline C. Jones

William Stanley Braithwaite by Kirk Nuss

Claude Brown by Robin Lucy

Sterling A. Brown by Leela Kapai

William Wells Brown by Loretta G. Woodard

Charles Waddell Chestnutt by Tracie Church Guzzio

Anna Julia Cooper by Vivian M. May

Countee Cullen by Gilbert N.M.O. Morris

Lucy A. Delaney by Verner D. Mitchell

Martin Robinson Delany by Adenike Marie Davidson

Frederick Douglass by Harish Chander

W.E.B. Du. Bois by David L. Dudley

Paul Laurence Dunbar-Nelson by Lori Leathers Single

Olaudah Equiano by Gilbert N.M.O Morris

Jessie Redmon Fauset by Emmanuel S. Nelson

Rudolph Fisher by Harish Chander

Sarah Lee Brown Fleming by Jacquelyn Y. Mclendon

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. by Peggy Stevenson Ratliff and Roosevelt Ratliff, Jr.

Edythe Mae Gordon by Russell Jay Nurick

Sutton E. Griggs by Roy Kay

Angelina Weld Grimke by Ynitri Jayasundera

Charlotte Lottie Forten Grimke by Karen M. Davis

Briton Hammon by Harish Chander

Jupiter Hammon by Lonnell Johnson

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper by Terry Novak

Juanita Harrison by Debra J. Rosenthal

George Wylie Henderson by Peter G. Christensen

Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins by Adenike Marie Davidson

George Moses Horton by Lonnell Johnson

James H. W. Howard by Ronald A. Tyson

Langston Hughes by Emmanuel S. Nelson

Zora Neale Hurston by Laurie Champion and Bruce A. Glasrud

Rebecca Cox Jackson by Joyce L.Cherry

Harriet Ann Jacobs by Terry Novak

Amelia E. Johnson by Elaine Saino

Georgia Douglas Johnson by Gwendolyn S. Jones

Helene Johnson by Barbara L.J. Griffin

James Weldon Johnson by Louis Hill Pratt

Elizabeth Keckley by Lynn Domina

Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins by Julie L. Williams

Nella Larsen by Emmanuel S. Nelson

Jarena Lee by Riche Richardson

Alain Locke by Emmanuel S. Nelson

John Marrant by Roland L. Williams, Jr.

Claude Mckay by Sarala Krishnamurthy

Richard Bruce Nugent by Maxine J. Simple

Eliza C. Potter by Nikolas Huot

Mary Prince by Nanette Morton

Nancy Prince by Loretta G. Woodard

Henrietta Cordelia Ray by Marva O. Banks

Mary Seacole by Laura L. Moakler

Maria W. Stewart by Barbara Ryan

Mary Church Terrell by Shara McCallum

Lucy Terry by Paula C. Jones

Wallace Thurman by Linda M. Carter

Katherine Davis Chapman Tilman by Kristen Saunders

Melvin Beaunorur Tolson by Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure

Eugene (Jean) Pinchback by Emma Waters Dawson

Sojourner Truth by Suzanne Hotte Massa

David Walker by Montye P. Fuse

Eric Walrond by Cora Agatucci

Booker T. Washington by Ted Olson

Frank Webb by Rennie Simson

Ida B. Wells-Barnett by Loretta Woodard

Phyllis Wheatley by Mona M. Choucair

Walter White by Emmanuel S. Nelson

James Monroe Whitfield by James L. Hill

Alberry Allson Whitman by Bettye J. Williams

Harriet E. Wilson by Emmanuel S. Nelson

Richard Wright by Eberhard Alsen

Zara Wright by Loretta G. Woodard

Selected Bibliography

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