A Month is Not Long Enough: 5 Important African American Writers

Even though Black History Month has come to an end there is still time to remember and reflect on a time in literature that shines light upon many issues still growing today. One way this is possible is to enlighten your senses to the past with a touch of African American Literature. A lot of time when students are asked to list a few African American authors their responses are usually Martin Luther King and Malcom X, if lucky some will know the english major familiars Equiano, and Langston Hughes. However, there are many other authors and works to explore. And here are five authors to help you start on that journey:


1.     Richard Wright, is well known for his controversial works such as Native Son, and Black Boy. Black Boy was documented as a best seller that explored one black man’s search for his identity within a racist society.


2.     Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning author is known for many strong works of literature such as Beloved, Bluest Eyes, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, and many more. Morrison a legend that is still living to this day shows the world that the ‘past troubles’ of African American treatment still is written about and lived in this modern society. Her style is a twist of haunting and reality.


3.     Zora Neale Hurston is not a stranger to many high school or college student’s. An American folklorist, anthropologist, and author has written well known works such as Their Eyes Were Watching God that she wrote during her fieldwork in Haiti.

4.     Frederick Douglass a once slave and famous public speaker. He is credited for his famous slave narrative autobiographies, and his leadership with the abolitionist movement. Other credible works relating to the slave narrative experience are: Angelina Grimké: American Slavery as It Is, Williams Wells Brown:  The Escape, Harriet Wilson: Our Nig, Harriet Jacobs:  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Elizabeth Keckley:  Behind the Scenes; or Thirty Years a Slave, Charlotte Grimke:  The Journals of Charlotte Grimke, and Anna Cooper:  A Voice from the South; By a Black Woman of the South.

5.     Ralph Ellison was a scholar, literary critic, and writer. He wrote Shadow and Act, a works of social, political, and critical essays. He received a National Book Award for his book Invisible Man