African-American Voices in Popular Fiction

Compiled by Arrowhead Library System

The following books are available at your local library or through interlibrary loan.
Ask your librarian.

Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice by April Sinclair. Stevie, from Sinclair's first novel Coffee Will Make You Black, has graduated from college and is ready to explore her new turf -- 1971 San Francisco. Hyperion. 1996.

All-Bright Court by Connie Porter. Episodic novel tracing the lives of families in a Northern housing project over 20 years. Harper.

And Do Remember Me by Marita Golden. A poignant story of the intimate friendships between two women and the men they love over 25 years of astonishing political and personal evolution. Doubleday, 1992.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. Set in rural Ohio after the Civil War, this chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is considered Morrison's greatest novel. Knopf, 1987.

Billy by Albert French. The harrowing tale of 10-year-old Billy Lee Turner, who is convicted of and executed for murdering a white girl in Mississippi in 1937. Viking, 1993.

The Blacker the Berry... by Wallace Thurman. A lost classic, originally published in 1929, this controversial book was the first novel to openly explore prejudice within the black community. Scribner, 1995.

Brothers and Sisters by Bebe Moore Campbell.
An African-American woman with a promising career is torn between her need to succeed and her loyalty to other people of color. Putnam, 1994.

Clover by Dori Sanders. After her father dies within hours of marrying a white woman, a 10-year-old black girl learns with her new mother to overcome grief and to adjust to a new place in their rural South Carolina community.

The Collected Stories of Chester Himes by Chester Himes. A collection of all of Hime's surviving stories, including some never-before published. Thunder's Mouth, 1991.

The Complete Stories by Zora Neale Huston. An important glimpse into the mind and imagination of this novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. HarperPerennial, 1995.

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosely.
First in a series of novels about detective Easy Rawlins, set in 1948 Los Angeles. Norton.

Howard Street by Nathan Heard. The author was in prison when he wrote this novel based on his experiences in the Newark ghetto. Amok.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde. In 1692, a Barbadian slave name Tituba was arrested for witchcraft. From this histoical fact, the author invents Tituba's life story. Caraf, 1992.

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. Fonny finds himself unjustly arrested but his family is determined to free him. Laurel-Leaf.

In Search of Satisfaction by J. California Cooper. A family saga focusing on the two daughters of Josephus, a freed slave, and the ideas of good and evil, wealth and poverty, and black and white relations. Doubleday.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. A black man struggles during the Depression not only with the white man, but with members of his own race. Ballantine, 1952.

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. Alex Cross, the brilliant black detective first introduced in the bestseller Along Came a Spider, returns in this suspenseful and chilling thriller.

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. Novel, set in the 1940s, about a young African-American who is condemned to death for a crime he did not commit, and a teacher who tries to give him pride and dignity. Random ,1993.

Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. Novel about an affluent community of "successful" black Americans and the different side which is revealed to two young street poets. By the author of Women of Brewster Place. Penguin.

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson. In 1830, a newly freed slave stows away aboard a ship, only to discover it to be a slave ship bound for Africa. Atheneum, 1990.

Native Son by Richard Wright. The tale of Bigger Thomas and his struggle for survival in a hostile country, America in the 1930's. Harper, 1969.

1959: A Novel by Thulani Davis. A pivotal year in the life of an 11-year-old girl -- the year that integration shook her town. Grove, 1992.

No Other Tale to Tell by Richard Perry. Haunted by a family tragedy and her father's rejection of her after she bore a child by her adopted white brother, Carla trusts no one in this tale of psychological suffering. Morrow, 1994.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. A 21st century woman burned our of her decaying southern California neighborhood bands together with other refugees. Four Walls.

Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker. Story of a tribal African woman who lives much of her adult life in the U.S., and her battle with madness as the result of submitting to the custom of genital mutilation. Harcourt, 1992.

The Price of a Child by Lorene Cary. A woman freed from slavery in 1855 learns that freedom is no less treacherous than slavery and presents a whole new set of compromising positions. Knopf, 1995.

Rattlebone by Maxine Clair. A collection of 11 stories about a fictional black community in Kansas in the 1950s, featuring Irene and the people who surround her as she grows up. Farra, 1994.

Rocking the Babies by Linda Raymond. Two women, one poor with a pregnant daughter addicted to crack, and the other educated, prissy and middle-class, volunteer as "grandmothers" to premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Ohio hospital. Viking, 1994.

Sisters and Lovers by Connie Briscoe. Traces the relationship of three sisters and the men in their lives. HarperCollins, 1994.

Straight Outta Compton by Ricardo Cortez Cruz.
"Rap novel" about life in the Los Angeles ghetto. Fiction Collective.

The Terrible Twos by Ishmael Reed.
Socio-political satire set during the Christmas season in the 1980s. St. Martin's.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. First published in 1937, this novel is a classic of American literature. Holt.

These Same Long Bones by Gwendolyn M. Parker. Set in the "colored" part of Durham, North Carolina on the eve of integration, this is a story of loss and redemption for a black community and a man who embodies its dreams. Houghton, 1994.

Through the Ivory Gate by Rita Dove. A look at a young artist's struggle to be true to herself and her art. Random House, 1992.

Ugly Ways by Tina Ansa. Novel about three sisters and their love-hate relationship with their mother. Harcourt Brace.

Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker. The spell-binding story of Marie Laveau, the notorious New Orleans voodooienne of the mid-19th century. St. Martin's, 1993.

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. A bestselling novel about four women in their 30s who aren't holding their breath waiting for Mr. Right, but who haven't stopped hoping.

The Wedding by Dorothy West. A wise and heartfelt story about the shackles of race and class we all wear--and the price we pay to break them. Doubleday, 1995.

Arrowhead Library System Member Public Libraries

·Beloit Public Library
·Clinton Public Library
·Eager Free Public Library, Evansville
·Edgerton Public Library
·Janesville Public Library
·Milton Public Library
·Orfordville Public Library

Arrowhead Library System
Janesville, Wisconsin 53545

Back to Arrowhead Booklists

Back to Arrowhead Library System home page