Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of modern American Negro life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching--yet always with... Read more
“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... Read more
The first science fiction written by a Black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of Black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
Nella Larsen’s fascinating exploration of race and identity—the inspiration for the Netflix film directed by Rebecca Hall, starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.
Irene Redfield is a Black woman living an affluent, comfortable life with her husband and children in the thriving neighborhood of Harlem in the 1920s. When she reconnects with her... Read more
James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man takes place in post Reconstruction era America and follows the story of a young biracial male. Johnson poses a complex dilemma: because the “Ex-Colored Man,” which is the only name by which the protagonist is referred, represents what, at the time was, a social contradiction of race... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
A Novel of the Love Affair between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem
The unexpected discovery in 2009 of a completed manuscript of Claude McKay’s final novel was celebrated as one of the most significant literary events in recent years. Building on the already extraordinary legacy of McKay’s life and work, this colorful, dramatic novel centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," writes Du Bois, in one of the most prophetic works in all of American literature. First published in 1903, this collection of fifteen essays dared to describe the racism that prevailed at that time in America—and to demand an end to it. Du Bois' writing draws on his early... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
Booker T. Washington fought his way out of slavery to become an educator, statesman, political shaper, and proponent of the “do it yourself” idea. In his autobiography, he describes his early life as a slave on a Virginia plantation, his steady rise during the Civil War, his struggle for education, his schooling at the Hampton Institute, and his... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
Maya 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... Read more
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“Toni Morrison was a visionary. This, her first novel, was my first foray into her work, and I found it approachable, yet deep with meaning. It borrows its structure from a children’s Dick and Jane story, which Toni reads like a haunting incantation. Her narration of the entire book is flawless and stunning, like the text itself. The novel... Read more
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The book that galvanized the nation, gave voice to the emerging civil rights movement in the 1960s—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today. - “The finest essay I’ve ever read.” —Ta-Nehisi CoatesAt once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie SmithOne of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love... Read moreAudiobook details Add to Wish List