African-American Authors

This selection of African-American authors is provided by the staff of the North Channel Branch Library.

Derrick A. Bell. Gospel Choirs, Ethical Ambition, and others.
As controversial as ever, Bell has written a series of parables using fictional characters to voice his progressive views. He blasts racism, the Republicans' Contract with America, and The Bell Curve; he makes a statement on affirmative action and comments briefly on the October 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
Anita Bunkley. Balancing Act, Starlight Passage, and others
When career, love, and responsibility collide, trusting one's heart can be the only solution. Set in Texas oil country, this is the unforgettable story of a woman struggling to keep everything in balance and the heroic, redeeming things we do in the name of love.
Octavia E. Butler. Parable of the Sower, Kindred, and others
In a time of urban squalor, rampant violence, and deadly decay, anarchy rules. But for Lauren Olamina, a new hope is dawning when she leaves the chaos of L.A. and flees north with a tiny band of followers.
Bebe Moore Campbell. Brothers and Sisters, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, and others
Esther Jackson is a bank manager who's worked hard to earn her success, and equally hard to keep her passions in check. Sensitive to injustice, but struggling against hostility and mistrust, she forms a tentative friendship with Mallory Post, a white coworker who seems sometimes to live in a different -- and unreachable -- world.
J. California Cooper. Family, A Piece of Mine, and others
Much has been written about the institution of slavery. But with "Family", Cooper has taken the slave narrative and recreated it as an epic, yet collo quial, poem.
Nora DeLoach. Mama Solves a Murder, Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle, and others
A case that appears to be open and shut is anything but. 
Eric Jerome Dickey. Friends and Lovers, The Other Woman, and others
In this sexy, soulful tale of love, betrayal, and friendship set in modern-day Los Angeles, the lives of four young African Americans--two men and two women--are chronicled through the love and the laughter, as well as the heartache and pain of not-so-everyday life. A witty, honest portrait of contemporary mores and humanity in which the gender gap isn't merely investigated but celebrated.
E. Lynne Harris. If This World Were Mine, Not a Day Goes By, and others
Friends since their days at Hampton Institute, the four group members are as different as the seasons, yet they all share a love of one another.
Zora Neale Hurston. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Moses, man of the Mountain, and others
Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person-- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
Yolanda Joe. The Hatwearer's Lesson, Bebe's By Golly Wow!, and others
A poignant, and at times humorous, novel about how family history shapes present lives, no matter how much one tries to deny it.
Guy Johnson. Standing at the Scratch Line and Echoes of a Distant Summer
In this hard hitting and action-filled novel, newcomer Guy Johnson introduces LeRoi Boudreaux Tremain, one of the most complex and engaging African-American characters in fiction. From the forests of France in WWI to the streets of New York City to a black township in Oklahoma, "King" Tremain is the angel of vengeance wherever he sees injustice inflicted on his people, friends or family.
Jamaica Kincaid. The Autobiography of My Mother, Mr. Potter and others
The story of Xuela, whose mother dies at the moment she is born, presents an indeliable portrait of an angry woman.
Sandra Kitt. Sisters, Between Friends, and Family Affairs
The bond of love between sisters is an irreplaceable bridge spanning years and distance. Written with eloquence, wit and passion by three of today's best African-American authors, the three powerful novellas in Sisters reflect this emotional and spiritual connection, with all the sharing and caring, celebration and sadness that sisterhood brings.
Benilde Little. Acting out,Good hair, and The itch
A moving and ambitious work, "Acting Up" inhabits the world of the black upper middle class, but even more so it shows what happens when the African-American dream falls apart, or in this case, falls together.
Nathan McCall. What's Going On and Makes Me Wanna Holler
McCall firmly establishes himself as a commentat or for our times, moving beyond his own life to deconstruct the social, cultural, and political workings of race in our lives.
Reginald McKnight. African American Wisdom, The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas, and White Boys
Collected quotes, dated when possible, organized into 20 categories, including blackness and black unity, masculine and feminine, love and hate, courage, character, conflict, respect, and freedom
Rosalyn McMillan. This Side of Eternity, Knowing, and others
A beautiful and evocative story of one family's struggle for survival amid the hope and trauma of the civil rights movement in Tennessee.
Terry McMillan. Waiting to Exhale, Disappearing Acts, and others
A hilarious and heartbreaking look at four vibrant black women in their thirties, who aren't holding their breath waiting for Mr. Right--but they haven't stopped hoping. Instead they draw on each other for support as they struggle through life.
Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye, Paradise, and others
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 that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Walter Mosley. Devil In a Blue Dress, Fearless Jones, and others
Mosley honors the tradition of the classic American detective novel by bestowing on it a vivid social canvas and the freshest new voice in crime writing in years, mixing the hard-boiled poetry of Raymond Chandler with the racial realism of Richard Wright to explosive effect.
Gloria Naylor. Mama Day, The Women of Brewster Place, and others
On the island of Willow Springs, off the Georgia coast, the powers of healer Mama Day are tested by her great niece, Cocoa, a stubbornly emancipated woman endangered by the island's darker forces. A powerful generational saga at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and common sense.
Ishmael Reed. Mumbo Jumbo, The Last Days of Louisiana Red, and others
A satiric deconstruction of Western civilization; a racy and uproarious commentary on our society. In it, Reed, one of our preeminent African-American authors, mixes portraits of historical figures and fictional characters with sound bites on subjects ranging from ragtime to Greek philosophy.
Jewell Parker Rhodes. Douglass' Women, Voodoo Dreams: a Novel of Marie Laveau, and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction
The critically acclaimed author of "Voodoo Dreams" brings to life the fortunes of two actual 19th-century women who fell in love with the legendary Frederick Douglass. Against a background marked by a burgeoning women's rights movement, the disastrous raid on Harper's Ferry, and the Civil War, "Douglass' Women" is an unforgettable epic full of heartache and triumph.
Kimberla Lawson Roby. A Taste of Reality, Here and Now, and others
Winner of the prestigious "Blackboard" Fiction Book of the Year award, this searingly triumphant novel of betrayal and empowerment is from the author of "Casting the First Stone" and "It's a Thin Line."
Lucinda Roy. Lady Moses
The story of Jacinta Moses, the child of a passionate and courageous love.  When Jacinta's mother and father die, she flees from London to the American South.  After her daughter is born with a disability, she travels with her baby and husband to Africa to search for answers in her father's homeland. Her experiences there change her forever, for it is in Africa, that she is forced to draw on her family's great strengths and weave something brilliant out of their history of pain.
Dori Sanders. Her Own Place, Clover, and Dori Sanders' Country Cooking
The only child of South Carolina tenant farmers and still in her teens when she marries, Mae Lee Barnes saves her wages from a job at a munitions plant, buys farmland of her own, and waits for her husband's return from World War II. He returns. Then he departs, returns, departs. He will not stay put. Eventually he is gone for good, but not until Mae Lee is left with five children to raise and a farm to run, by herself.
April Sinclair. Coffee Will Make You Black, Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice, and I Left My Back Door Open
Sinclair writes frankly about a young black woman's sexuality and emotions, growing up in Chicago's South Side in the '60s. By turns hilarious and harrowing, this "in-your-face" novel powerfully captures what it was like to be black--before black was beautiful.
Mary Burnett Smith. Miss Ophelia and Ring Around the Moon
Set in rural Virginia during 1948, "Miss Ophelia" is a remarkable debut novel that explores the issues of abortion, illegitimacy, adultery, and skin color. Belly Anderson, now in the autumn of her life, reminisces about the last summer of her childhood, a time when she learns a terrible secret about a close friend--a secret that forces Belly to grow up and learn what it really means to be an adult.
Pamela Thomas-Graham. A Darker Shade of Crimson and Blue Blood
Being young, gifted, and black at Harvard has always been difficult. For Rosezella Maynette Fisher, outspoken sister girl and controversial Dean of Students at Harvard Law School, it was murder.
Omar Tyree. Diary of a Groupie, Flyy Girl, and others
A lively and absorbing tale of a woman whose private life with some high-flying, A-list men becomes potential front-page fodder
Alice Walker. The Color Purple, The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart, and others
This landmark work is Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that also won the American Book Award and established her as a major voice in modern fiction. The New York Times Book Review hailed its "intense emotional impact", and the San Francisco Chronicle called it "a work to stand beside literature of any time and place".
Valerie Wilson Wesley. Always True to You in My Fashion, When Death Comes Stealing, and others
A trio of great single women are being driven to distraction. Each woman will discover more about herself than she bargained for, and each will find, along with the errant Randall himself, the true meaning of "happily ever after."
Franklin White. Cup of Love and Fed Up With the Fanny
An exploration of the lives of black friends and lovers, in this new urban drama that overflows with understanding, tenderness, and passion.