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The Amen Corner: Black Classics

Invisible Man

By Ralph Ellison
Narrated by: Joe Morton
Length: 18 hours 38 minutes

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 »

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Native Son

By Richard Wright
Narrated by: Peter Francis James
Length: 17 hours 45 minutes

“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...

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Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Kim Staunton
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes

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 more »

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For a limited time, when you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

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Passing

By Nella Larsen
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 4 hours 5 minutes

First published in 1929, Passing is a remarkable exploration of the shifting racial and sexual boundaries in America. Larsen, a premier writer of the Harlem Renaissance, captures the rewards and dangers faced by two negro women who pass for white in a deeply segregated world. Read more »

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The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

By James Weldon Johnson
Narrated by: Bill Andrew Quinn
Length: 5 hours 2 minutes

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...

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Amiable with Big Teeth

A Novel of the Love Affair between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem

By Claude McKay
Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
Length: 10 hours 41 minutes

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...

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The Souls of Black Folk

By W. E. B. Du Bois
Narrated by: Mirron Willis
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

"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...

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Up from Slavery

By Booker T. Washington
Narrated by: Noah Waterman
Length: 6 hours 8 minutes

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...

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

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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The Bluest Eye

By Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so... Read more »

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The Fire Next Time

By James Baldwin
Narrated by: Jesse Martin
Length: 2 hours 25 minutes

At once a powerful evocation of his early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice to both the individual and the body politic, James Baldwin galvanized the nation in the early days of the civil rights movement with his eloquent manifesto. The Fire Next Time stands as one of the essential works of our...

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Ruby Dee
Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

“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 Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love...

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