Harlem Renaissance : five novels of the 1920s
This collection starts with Jean Toomer's Cane (1923) -- a unique fusion of fiction, poetry, and drama rooted in Toomer's experiences as a teacher in Georgia; followed by a cluster of novels exploring black experience and the dilemmas of black identity.

Harlem Renaissance : four novels of the 1930s
Four Novels of the 1930s traces the flowering of the Renaissance in diverse genres and forms. It opens with Langston Hughes's Not Without Laughter (1931), an elegantly realized coming-of-age tale that follows a young man from his rural origins to the big city.

Push : a novel
A courageous and determined young teacher opens up a new world of hope and redemption for sixteen-year-old Precious Jones, an abused young African-American girl living in Harlem who was raped and left pregnant by her father.

Ellison, Ralph     
Invisible man
A black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility.

Angelou, Maya     
I know why the caged bird sings
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. It captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.

Baldwin, James     
Another country
Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, "Another Country" is a novel of passions (sexual, racial, political, artistic) which is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality; about men and women stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime level.

Baldwin, James     
Go tell it on the mountain
James Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935.

Barrett, William Edmund     
The lilies of the field
A free-spirited ex-G.I. stumbles upon five German refugee nuns in Arizona and helps them build a chapel.

Brown, Claude     
Manchild in the promised land
The autobiography of a young black man raised in Harlem. A realistic description of life in the ghetto.

Butler, Octavia E     
When a young black woman is drawn 150 years into the past, she doesn't realize that it is only the first of many times she will be called upon to save the life of a Maryland plantation owner who turns out to be her ancestor nor how involved she will become in the lives of the slaves on his plantation.

Gaines, Ernest J     
A lesson before dying
In the late 1940s, a black teacher is persuaded to impart something of his learning and pride to a death row inmate.

Gaines, Ernest J     
The autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
A 110-year-old black woman reminisces about her life, which has stretched from the days of slavery to the black militancy and civil rights movements of the 1960s.

Haley, Alex     
Roots : the saga of an American family
The author shares the saga of an African American family that extends from his ancestor Kunta Kinte, an African brought to mid-eighteenth-century America as a slave, to himself.

Hansberry, Lorraine     
A raisin in the sun
In 1950s Chicago, three generations of Youngers live in a run-down apartment. As these black Americans struggle to overcome a variety of challenges, hope suddenly looms on the horizon.

Hughes, Langston     
Vintage Hughes
Arguably the most important writer to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s, Langston Hughes was a great poet and a shrewd and lively storyteller. His work blends elements of blues and jazz, speech and song, into a triumphant and wholly original idiom.

Hurston, Zora Neale     
Their eyes were watching God
Janie Crawford, a southern black woman in the 1930s, journeys from being a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance.

Johnson, Helene     
This waiting for love : Helene Johnson, poet of the Harlem Renaissance
This volume brings together much of the known poetry and a selection of correspondence by an enormously talented but underappreciated poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Helene Johnson (1906-1995) first gained literary prominence when James Weldon Johnson and Robert Frost selected three of her poems for prizes in a 1926 competition.

Johnson, James Weldon     
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man(1912), the first modernist novel written by an African American, is one of the undisputed masterpieces of African American literature and established Johnson in the African American literary vanguard of the first half of the twentieth century.

Larsen, Nella     
Nella Larsen (1891-1964) occupies a central place in African-American and Modernist literature. Written in 1929, Passing is about two light-skinned black women who try to escape racism. Kendry chooses to sever all ties with her background and passes herself off as white, while Redfield simply denies that racism exist.

Marshall, Paule     
Brown girl, brownstones
Set in Depression-era Brooklyn, NY, this 1959 coming-of-age novel finds Selina Boyce caught in the middle of her immigrant parents. Mom wants Selina to get an American education, while dad dreams of returning to Barbados. Along with her parental woes, our heroine must deal with the poverty and racism that surrounds her." -- Library Journal Review

Morrison, Toni     
Beloved : a novel
Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl.

Morrison, Toni     
Song of Solomon
This novel takes readers into a magical and richly-peopled world which encompasses four generations of African-American life.

Morrison, Toni     
The bluest eye : a novel
An eleven-year-old black girl prays for her eyes to turn blue so people will consider her beautiful.

Naylor, Gloria     
The women of Brewster Place
The stories of seven Black women living in an urban ghetto evoke the energy, brutality, compassion, and desolation of modern Black America

Parks, Gordon     
The learning tree
An African-American youth in a small town in Kansas finds himself the only witness to a murder.

Petry, Ann     
The street
A young African-American woman struggles to retain her moral integrity and guard her small son from evil in Harlem.

Walker, Margaret     
The story of the fortunes of a mulatto girl, as a slave during the Civil War and then as a woman freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.

Walker, Alice     
The color purple : a novel
Set in the period between the world wars, this novel tells of two sisters, their trials, and their survival.

Walker, Alice     
The temple of my familiar
In a story that moves through America, England, and Africa, men, women, and animals share a spiritual world and learn the intricacies of their connecting lives.

West, Dorothy     
The wedding
In the 1950s, a girl from the black bourgeoisie in Martha's Vineyard announces her engagement to a white musician. The novel follows the impact this has on her family and the community around them.

Wright, Richard     
Native son
Trapped in the poverty-stricken ghetto of Chicago's South Side, a young black man finds release only in acts of violence.

  Olympia Library staff -- August 2016