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African-American Authors : Adult Fiction and Drama

This bibliography includes the work of African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and African writers of adult fiction and drama available from the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library in braille, cassette and, disk formats. This list excludes non-fiction, works directed at a juvenile audience, and works available from other local libraries for the blind in the National Library Service system.

These books are available from the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library catalog.


Achebe, Chinua, ed.

African Short Stories
  • Collection of twenty stories forms an invaluable introduction to the wealth of short fiction currently being written in Africa. In addition to representing such major figures as Ousmane, Ngugi, Gordimer, and Mphahlele, the editors include young authors just beginning their careers. Some strong language. BR 06650.
Anthills of the Savannah
  • In the fictional African state of Kangan, a military coup ushers a promising young officer into the role of president. When His Excellency fails in a referendum to install himself as president for life, his paranoia gradually chokes all remnants of due process. The descent to tyranny is observed by three witnesses: Chris Oriko, the commissioner of information; Ikem Osodi, a poet and editor of the principal newspaper; and Beatrice Okoh, Chris's lover and a secretary in the government. RC 28113.
Arrow of God
  • The chief priest of this African community is responsible for initiating the rituals that give structure to the peoples' lives. Conflict erupts as the clergyman attempts to maintain his own power and the authority of the deity in the face of the arrival of foreigners and growing disunity among the villagers. RC 49032.
No Longer at Ease
  • The bribery trial of Obi Okonkwo, a young Nigerian civil servant of "education and brilliant promise," is cause for consternation among the Umofians who sent him to England on scholarship. Obi recounts his struggles with conscience and the circumstances that led to his arrest. In Process [August 200]
Things Fall Apart
  • Portrays traditional Ibo society in nineteenth-century Nigeria and one of its great men, Okonkwo. Through rituals, the lives of the individual and the community are unified, giving them order and significance. But the time-honored system of beliefs and behavior falls apart with the arrival of missionaries and colonists. RC 47510.

Andrews, Raymond.

Jessie and Jesus, and Cousin Claire
  • Two novellas starring manipulative African-American females in Georgia. In the first, six-year-old Jessie hears a new baby will be vying for her adored father's attention. But Jessie finds a way to solve that problem and every other one. In "Cousin Claire," a young woman kills her relatives to inherit a house. Winner of the American Book Award. Strong language, violence, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 38172.

Ansa, Tina McElroy.

Baby of the Family
  • Lena McPherson is born in Mulberry, Georgia, in 1949. Born with a caul covering her face, she is considered a lucky baby--a person with special powers. Her daddy is the well-to-do owner of the Blue Bird Cafe, Grill, and Liquor Store, known to everyone as "The Place." As Lena grows up she realizes just how different she is from other folks who don't see the ghosts she sees. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 31112
The Hand I Fan With
  • In this sequel to Baby of the Family (RC 31112), Lena McPherson is forty-five and a much-admired successful businesswoman in Mulberry, Georgia. Her ability to gaze into people's souls hampers her love life until she conjures up Herman, a man who died a hundred years ago. Explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 43943.
Ugly Ways: A Novel
  • Three grown sisters return home for the funeral of their mother, Mudear. As the sisters reminisce, they discuss their own lives and fears, realizing how deeply they were affected by their mother's remoteness. In the process, each daughter comes to grips with her relationship to Mudear. Strong language. RC 43218.

Austin, Doris Jean.

After the Garden: A Novel
  • This realistic novel set in Jersey City follows the life of a young black woman, Elzina, from 1939 to 1962. She becomes the pregnant bride of Jesse James, the school's handsome athletic star and one of the many children of a hard-drinking mother. Though the couple faces problems, Elzina learns to survive in a threatening world. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 27503.

Bagni, Gwen and Paul Dubov.

Backstairs at the White House: A Novel
  • Gossipy novel based on the lives of two women, Maggie Rogers Parks and her crippled daughter, Lillian Rogers Parks, who served as White House maids through eight administrations from William Howard Taft to Dwight David Eisenhower. Reveals what it was like behind-the-scenes. BRA17089; FD 13414 ; RC 13414.

Baker, Calvin.

Naming the New World: A Novel
  • Vignettes highlighting the history of an African American family, beginning with episodes in Africa and as newly arrived slaves in America, progressing to their escape from slavery, but not from pain. Some descriptions of sex, some violence, and some strong language. BR 11615.

Baker, Dorothy Dodds.

Cassandra at the Wedding
Judith Edwards is soon to be married, and her twin sister Cassandra realizes that her closeness to Judith and her own fear of men make her bitter and resentful toward the couple. BRA07624.
  • Baker, Dorothy Dodds.
Young Man with a Horn
  • A young black jazz artist who plays a horn is unable to reconcile his art with acceptance of the world around him. The details of musicians' lives and loves, the routine of rehearsals, fights, salaries, and jealousies create an intense excitement. RC 08542.

Baldwin, James.

Another Country
  • A talented black musician, his beautiful sister, and his white friend strike out against the conventions of sex, race, and society. Violence and explicit descriptions of sex. BRJ02034; RC 16421.
Blues for Mister Charlie
  • Based on the case of a black youth whose white murderer was acquitted by the courts in Mississippi. A powerful play that laments the white man's moral crisis as much as the frustration and anger of blacks. Violence and strong language. RC 16413.
Giovanni's Room: A Novel
  • Homosexuality and the physical aspects of male love are explored in a Paris setting where the narrator, a young American, is involved both with a woman and man, and is eventually compelled to make a choice. RC 12503.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • Set in Harlem, the account of John's religious conversion on his 14th birthday is told in flashbacks against the story of the lives and sins of three generations of John's Negro forefathers. BR 08734; RC 33488; RD 06817.
Going to Meet the Man
  • Eight stories focus on American Negroes in their home environment. Dealing with conflict, violence, love, and homosexuality, they embody the author's characteristic concept of the individual's isolation or alienation. BR 00480.
If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A bittersweet love story between Tish Rivers, a 19-year-old Black girl who is pregnant, and her lover Fonny who has been wrongly convicted of rape and is serving a jail sentence. Explicit descriptions of sex. RC 08709.
Just Above My Head
  • Sprawling drama traces the passage of three individuals through the events of the fifties, sixties, and seventies from the Apollo in Harlem to the Olympia in Paris. Love and courage bind a former child evangelist, a famous gospel singer, and the latter's manager-brother. The theme of homosexuality is introduced. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 15122.
Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone: A Novel
  • While convalescing from a heart attack, the black narrator of this novel, a successful actor, reminisces about his Harlem childhood, warm mother, idolized brother, and love affair with a white girl. Explicit descriptions of sex. BRA00263.

Bambara, Toni Cade.

Gorilla, My Love
  • Short stories by a young black author, including first-person accounts of a tomboyish childhood as well as stories of the betrayal of children by grown-ups. Explicit descriptions of sex. RD 06094.
The Salt Eaters
  • Traces the past, present, and alternate futures of the black inhabitants of Claybourne, Georgia, in the span of two hours. The novel focuses on two women sitting on stools in the Southwest Community Infirmary. One woman is Velma Henry, the former civil rights activist and community leader who has become "uncentered" and has attempted suicide; the other is Minnie Ransom, healer, herb woman, and spiritual center of the community. Strong language. RC 37360.

Barnes, Steven.

Iron Shadows
  • Private detectives Cat Juvell and Jax Carpenter plan to dissolve their partnership after they rescue a young girl from her kidnapper father. Then comes a job they can't resist--to free a young heiress from a New Age cult led by twins who seem to have miraculous powers. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 12445.

Beatty, Paul.

The White Boy Shuffle
  • Title under consideration for production.

Bell, Madison Smartt.

All Souls' Rising
  • Set in the slave rebellion of eighteenth-century colonial Haiti. The French doctor, Hebert, is the guide on a relentless journey through a world of political chaos, brutal conflict, and mind-numbing torture. Former slave Toussaint serves as a force of reason amid the horror. Explicit descriptions of sex and violence. RC 42403.
Barking Man and Other Stories
  • A collection of ten short stories showing the struggles of people and other creatures on the fringes of society. A Chinese laboratory mouse uses the I Ching for predicting the future, and the hero of the title story not only barks, but sheds, climbs on the furniture, and bites. BR 10123.
Doctor Sleep
  • The psychological state brought on by insomnia suddenly dominates the life of an American hypnotist living in London. Having escaped drug addiction in New York, he now leads a multifaceted life performing hypnotism, practicing martial arts, and accepting occasional jobs from Scotland Yard. While in a sleep-deprivation haze, the hypnotist must deal with punks, drug lords, a serial killer, and girl problems. Some strong language. RC 34159.
Save Me, Joe Louis
  • Hillbilly Macrae and streetwise Charlie meet in Battery Park, where they both are looking for handouts. Macrae is basically a good man down on his luck, but Charlie is cold-blooded and fearless. They form a team and start robbing people. When events turn violent, they flee to Baltimore and become involved in serious crime with an ex-con. But Macrae can still feel guilt--especially when he meets an old flame. Strong language and violence. RC 39276.
Soldier's Joy
  • Thomas Laidlaw "white" and Rodney Redmon "black" were childhood friends in their native Tennessee before they both went to Vietnam. When Laidlaw, who has returned with both physical and emotional wounds, runs into Redmon, they renew their friendship. However, the Ku Klux Klan does not look kindly upon their association, and both men soon find themselves drawing upon their military training. Strong language. RC 30540.
The Year of Silence
  • Set in New York City. A lonely young woman's death by overdose sends ripples of shock and grief to a wide assortment of people including her lover, friends, and neighbors, as well as cops and derelicts in the neighborhood. RC 28125.

Berry, Venise T.

So Good
  • Three African American women in Washington, D.C., struggle to make stable lives. Lisa, a vivacious Ph.D. student, falls for Walter, who pursues a risky lifestyle. Unhappily married Danielle consorts with a younger man at work. Sundi is on a collision course with her prim Nigerian husband. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. RC 44346.

Bland, Eleanor Taylor.

See No Evil
  • Detective Marti MacAlister of the Lincoln Prairie, Illinois, police department, investigates the murder of a young woman found alongside Lake Michigan. A homeless man is also missing from the area. While working, Marti is unaware that an intruder is entering her house regularly and stalking her family. Some strong language. In Process.
Done Wrong
  • It's been three years since Chicago narc Johnny MacAlister's supposed suicide. His widow, Marti, has moved with her two children to quiet Lincoln Prairie, where she works as a cop, and they struggle to get on with their lives. Now another Chicago policeman dies, and his widow suggests a connection to Johnny's death. Some strong language. RC 43521.

Bontemps, Arna Wendell.

The Old South: "A Summer Tragedy" and Other Stories of the Thirties
  • Collection of fourteen short stories evokes black life in the South during the thirties. RC 11908.

Bradley, David.

The Chaneysville Incident: A Novel
  • The legends say something happened in mid-nineteenth-century Chaneysville and when John Washington, a history professor escaping from his small-town black origins, learns about the financial and spiritual legacy his father left him he becomes obsessed with discovering what that something was. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. FD 15855; RC 15855.

Brawley, Benjamin Griffith, ed.

Early Negro American Writers: Selections with Biographical and Critical Introductions. BRA00813.

Briscoe, Connie.

Big Girls Don't Cry
  • A contemporary story that explores problems of family, race, and career. Naomi Jefferson, an African American, grew up in the shadow of her older brother, Joshua, a civil-rights activist. After his death, Naomi becomes disillusioned with her white- dominated college and profession. She starts her own business and confronts new challenges. Some strong language. RC 46042.
Sisters & Lovers
  • Three African American sisters try to find a balance between their individual and mutual needs. Evelyn, a psychologist, struggles to maintain her standard of living but almost destroys her marriage in the process. Charmaine, an office worker, puts up a brave front but wonders how much longer she can cope with her husband's lies. Beverly, an editor, refuses to trust her lover but frets about constantly losing the men in her life. Strong language. RC 39260.

Brooks, Gwendolyn.

  • Brooks, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry (1950), served as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress in 1985-86. This collection of her work includes the complete texts of "A Street in Bronzevelle," "Annie Allen," "Maud Martha," "The Bean Eaters," and "In the Mecca," and selections from "Primer for Blacks," "Beckonings," "To Disembark," and "The Near-Johannesburg Boy." RC 30666.

Brown, Wesley.

Darktown Strutters: A Novel
  • Jim Crow, a Kentucky slave, is a superb dancer. Tom Rice owns a minstrel show and rents Jim from his master. Jim refuses to wear blackface on stage and, when the other performers won't share accommodations, Jim gets his own railroad car. Meanwhile, he competes with Jack Diamond, an Irish dancer. They enjoy a deep friendship until the outbreak of the New York draft riots during the Civil War. Violence and some strong language. RC 40151.

Brown, Wesley and Amy Ling.

Imagining America: Stories From the Promised Land
  • Thirty-seven short stories dramatize the conflict between the myth of the "promised land" and the reality of life in the United States, and give voice to the various cultures that form our complex national identity. These stories portray immigration to and migration inside America and include the Native American perspective. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. RC 37599.

Butler, Octavia E.

Bloodchild and Other Stories
  • Short works by the author of "Parable of the Sower" (RC 39777). The title story, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction, tells of a horrified man, who, because of love, agrees to carry the devouring eggs and larvae of an extraterrestrial being. The collection includes three other science fiction pieces, a general short story, and two essays. The author, known for her feminist and racial themes, gives tips on getting published. RC 42749.
Clay's Ark
  • A small group of people are infected with an extraterrestrial parasite that transforms them physically. They isolate themselves in a desert community to check their compulsion to infect others, until a vicious bandit gang interferes. Strong language, violence, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 22653.
  • An educated young black woman is drawn repeatedly back in time to the antebellum plantation of her forebears. Here amidst the cruelties of slavery she becomes the protector and teacher of the plantation owner's son, whom she knows will become her own great-grandfather. BRA16406; RC 16072.
Mind of My Mind
  • A ruthless mutant named Doro has spent the last 4,000 years trying to breed a race in his own image. The experiment results in a daughter who attains full powers and begins to build a mental community put of Doro's half-telepathic failures and partial successes. BR 03821.
Parable of the Sower
  • In 2024, most well-to-do families live in walled enclaves to protect themselves from the roaming drug addicts who live in squalor and are prone to stealing, rape, and murder. Lauren Olamina, eighteen, suffers from hyperempathy, which means that she feels not only her own pain but that of others. When the addicts overrun Lauren's community, she and others are forced to seek refuge outside the walls. Strong language and violence. RC 39777.
Parable of the Talents: A Novel
  • In Parable of the Sower (RC 39777), Lauren Oya Olamina established the community of Acorn, inhabited by followers of her Earthseed religion. Now with the election of Christian fundamentalist Reverend Andrew Steele Jarret as U.S. president, the residents of Acorn are in grave danger, including Lauren's infant daughter. Strong language and some violence. RC 48070.
  • In the earth's distant future, the Patternists use psi power to control the Mutes and to battle strange four-legged humanoids called Clayarks. Some strong language. BR 03308.

Cambridge, Joan.

Clarise Cumberbatch Want to Go Home
  • Written in lilting West Indian dialect, this novel tells the story of Clarise Cumberbatch, an impoverished, barely literate, Guyanese country girl. She comes to New York in search of her husband Harold who after thirteen years of marriage, has run off to America with his "sweetwoman," Leonie. Because of her naivete, Clarise's life in New York is full of humor and pathos. RC 26688.

Campbell, Bebe Moore.

Brothers and Sisters
  • Esther Jackson, a thirty-four-year-old black woman, is regional operations manager for Angel City National Bank in Los Angeles. A white coworker and friend, Mallory Post, complains bitterly about the bank's glass ceiling for women, but Esther is more concerned about the race ratio. When a black man is brought into management, Esther is pleased--until Mallory accuses him of sexually harassing her. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 39390.
Singing in the Comeback Choir
  • Lindy Walker gave up a singing career to care for her granddaughter, Maxine McCoy. Now Maxine is married and a successful African American television producer, and it is Lindy who needs help. When Maxine returns to her old Philadelphia neighborhood, she encourages Lindy to sing again. But unexpectedly, Maxine also finds redemption in her roots. Some strong language. Bestseller. RC 45848.
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
  • Mississippi, 1950s. While visiting from Chicago, black youth Armstrong Todd is murdered by a white man, Floyd Cox, who takes offense when Todd flashily speaks French in the presence of Cox's wife. Campbell examines the causes behind Cox's racism and observes the effect the tragedy has on the families of both Todd and Cox over the next few decades. Strong language, some violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 36262.

Carpentier, Alejo.

The Chase
  • First published in 1956 in Spanish as "El Acoso." A man pursued by two assassins takes refuge in a concert auditorium where a performance of Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony is taking place. Here the condemned man reflects on his past and on the political involvements that spell his doom. Translated from the Spanish by Alfred Mac Adam. RC 34478.
Explosion in a Cathedral
  • Victor Hugues, the son of a baker in Marseilles, travels frequently to the Caribbean as a cabin boy before he decides to settle there and open a shop in Port-au-Prince. The rebellious spirit that he left behind in France is suddenly rekindled when a band of revolutionary Haitians attacks his shop. Hugues recruits two wealthy orphans, Esteban and Sofia, to his rebel cause, but war and use of the guillotine disillusion Esteban. Translated from the Spanish by John Sturrock. RC 34547.
The Harp and the Shadow: A Novel
  • English translation of a Spanish baroque historical novel by a Cuban-born author evokes the discovery and conquest of the New World by Columbus. Traces Pope Pius IX's nineteenth-century plans to canonize Columbus for spreading Catholicism, portrays the discoverer's deathbed confession about how his idealism turned to greed, and returns to the beatification debate. Translated from the Spanish by Thomas Christensen and Carol Christensen. RC 34094.
The Kingdom of this World
  • Ti-Noel, a slave, narrates the violence he witnesses during the regime of King Henri-Christophe. Actual events are blended with superstitious beliefs and miraculous happenings. Translated from the Spanish by Harriet de Onís. RC 34532.
The Lost Steps
  • A Latin American composer living in New York City is contemplating his empty existence when suddenly he is offered an intriguing opportunity--to go into the jungles of South America in search of primitive musical instruments. In this first-person narrative, he embarks on a personal odyssey. Along with carrying out his primary mission, he rediscovers the nature and enchantment of the primitive world. Translated from the Spanish by Harriet de Onís. BRJ00826; RC 34555.

Cartiér, Xam.

Muse-echo Blues
  • Kat is a young African-American composer fingering the piano keys and suffering from a lack of inspiration. She daydreams about the jazz scene in the 1940s and begins to fantasize about a soul sister named Kitty. Gradually Kitty and her sax-playing lover, Chicago, create a sense of spontaneity in Kat that manifests itself in an extended jazz improvisation. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 35228.

Chamoiseau, Patrick.

Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows: A Novel
  • Title under consideration for production [August 2000].
Solibo Magnifique
  • A popular storyteller, Solibo Magnificent, dies while giving a performance for friends during Carnival in Fort-de-France. Although Solibo seems to have strangled on his own words, the police suspect foul play. They zealously pursue the interrogation of the friends who witnessed the event. Some strong language. Translated from the French and Creole by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokurov. RC 47695.
  • Marie-Sophie Laborieux tells about her life and that of her father, Esternome, who was born a slave on the island of Martinique nearly 150 years ago. She describes the founding of the shantytown, Texaco, among the pipelines of the oil company and defends the town's existence against urban development plans that would destroy it. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. Translated from the French and Creole by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokurov.Winner of France's Prix Goncourt. RC 45807.

Channer, Colin.

Waiting in Vain
  • Title under consideration for production.

Chapman, Abraham, comp.

Black Voices: An Anthology of Afro-American Literature
  • Excerpts and short complete works by black authors. Includes fiction, autobiography, poetry, and literary criticism by Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and others. RC 14650.

Charters, Samuel Barclay.

Louisiana Black: A Novel
  • Frank Lewis is a complacent, middle-aged, middle-class black man until a photograph of a 1937 Louisiana lynching provokes in him a shock of recognition. Confronting his mother with the picture, he discovers that the victim was indeed his father, about whom he knows little. Lewis travels South in search of the gloating whites in the picture, but instead finds a new, more complicated South. Some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 33411.

Chase-Riboud, Barbara.

Echo of Lions
  • A fictionalized account of the celebrated antebellum "Amistad" affair. The "Amistad" was a Spanish slaver that appeared off the Long Island coast in the hands of Cinque and his fellow African slaves, who had rebelled and seized the ship. Under American law, the Africans were put on trial for their lives in a case that reached the Supreme Court, where it was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. RC 30493
The President's Daughter
  • At twenty-one, Harriet Hemings, daughter of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, left Virginia and moved to Philadelphia, where she took the name of Harriet Petit and passed as a white woman for the remainder of her life. In this sequel to "Sally Hemings" (RC 13990), Harriet struggles with the question of racial definition and identity in a world where she is, by law, black and a slave. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 40287.
Sally Hemings: A Novel. Based on historical findings, this novel is a speculative, fictional account of a love story between Thomas Jefferson and a slave mistress with whom he lived for thirty-eight years until his death
  • Sally Hemings had seven children, all of whom were said to be fathered by Jefferson. Some strong language. FD 13990; RC 13990.
  • During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid I in the eighteenth century, a French-American girl of fourteen, captured by Algerian pirates at sea, is forcibly placed in the sultan's Constantinople harem. She later bears him a son whose accession to the throne makes her an empress. Explicit descriptions of sex. RC 24902.

Chesnutt, Charles Waddell.

The Conjure Woman, and Other Conjure Tales
  • Collection of unsentimental black-vernacular tales written in the 1880s and 1890s. The narrator is Julius, a former slave, who tells stories about the old days to a visitor from the North. The slaves in these stories use the African tradition of conjuring to cast spells that serve as a method of resistance. Six of these thirteen tales were omitted from the first edition in 1899. RC 40299.

Childress, Alice.

A Short Walk
  • Stormy, earthy novel about a woman born to a black girl and a white boy in 1900. Follows her short walk through life as she vows to make a place for herself and to find love, freedom, and independence. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BR 04495.

Clair, Maxine.

  • Rattlebone is a mostly black community outside of Kansas City, Kansas. Eleven interconnected stories tell of Rattlebone in the 1950s and feature Irene Wilson as she comes of age. Entries focus on the troubled marriage of Irene's parents, the death of a boy who has a crush on Irene, and Irene's falling for a boy from an unusual settlement by the railroad tracks. BR 10499.

Clarke, Austin.

The Bigger Light: A Novel
  • Chronicles the lives of a group of West Indian immigrants in Toronto. Focuses on Boysie Cumberbatch, owner of an office-cleaning business, and his wife Dots. Obsessed with respectability, Boysie soon begins to look for something else--the bigger light. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 12209.
When He Was Free and Young and He Used to Wear Silks
  • Eleven short stories carry the reader from Barbados to Canada to the United States. The author's characters and rich language explore the repercussions when different cultures meet and transcend the question of color by appearing in very human dimensions. Some strong language. BRA13426.

Clarke, Breena.

River, Cross My Heart
  • Clara, six, and Johnnie Mae, twelve, are among the many black children of Washington, D.C., in 1925 who swim in the Potomac River because they are not allowed to use the nearby pool. When Clara drowns in the river, Johnnie Mae has difficulty overcoming her sense of responsibility for Clara's death. RC 48816. [WI-BPH, in process.]

Cleage, Pearl.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day-- A Novel
  • Ava had long ago traded her small-town life in Idlewild, Michigan, to be part of the successful crowd in Atlanta. Now, newly diagnosed with HIV, Ava has returned to Idlewild for a short visit. Soon caught up in her sister's good deeds, Ava slowly realizes she's falling in love with a much-changed family friend they had called Wild Eddie. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 46770.

Cliff, Michelle.

Abeng: A Novel
  • A lyrical novel explores Jamaica's character and past in telling the story of twelve-year-old Clare, who comes of age in 1958. She is the daughter of a white father, who cherishes his aristocratic ancestry, and a black mother, who remains distant from her lighter-skinned daughter. Alternating chapters tell the story of Clare's forebears and chronicle Jamaica's tumultuous past. Some descriptions of sex. RC 22219.
No Telephone to Heaven
  • A young, light-skinned, Jamaican-born woman finds herself placeless and undefined in a bigoted Brooklyn of the 1950s. Leaving New York, she travels first to London, and then roams Europe before returning to her native land in her search for identity and roots. Includes a glossary of Jamaican terms used in the narrative. RC 27473.
The Store of a Million Items
  • Under consideration.

Collins, Merle.

  • Doodsie and her daughter Angel grow and change with the strong political tides flowing around them in the West Indies. When Colonial rule gives way to dictatorship, revolution, and even an American invasion, we learn how black women provide the resiliency and the intelligence to create lives of strength and beauty from the ruins. Some strong language. RC 29880.

Condé, Maryse.

I, Tituba, Black witch of Salem
  • Tituba is born in Barbados to a sixteen-year-old who was raped on a slave ship. When her mother is hanged for fending off another sexual assault, Tituba is raised by an old woman who teaches her healing and communing with spirits. Against the advice of these spirits, Tituba gives up her freedom after falling in love with enslaved John Indian. They are shipped to Salem where Tituba's powers make her suspect. Violence and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 37420.
The Last of the African Kings
  • An African king and his family are exiled to the Caribbean because he opposes French colonialism. Eventually, they emigrate to the United States. Spero, a royal descendant, becomes a painter and philanderer whose lack of ambition clashes with the aspirations of his enterprising wife, an African American historian. In Process.
Tree of Life
  • The story, as told by Coco, begins when Albert Louis decides that he is not about to take it anymore. With that, he collects his pay and flees the Guadeloupe plantation. Proud that he can write, Albert signs a contract to dig the Panama Canal. Little does he imagine that so little would change, until one day he meets Liza. And the tale moves on to each generation as Coco comes to terms with her family tree. Some strong language. RC 37263.
Windward Heights
  • Under consideration [August 2000].

Cooper, J. California.

Family: A Novel
  • Clora, born into slavery, hovers over four generations of her family in life and death. She begins with her own desperate life on the plantation before the Civil War, a life that comes to an abrupt end. Her story continues from beyond the grave as she hares her wisdom with her daughter, Always, and watches over the children and grandchildren who are never very far from her voice and her indomitable spirit. RC 32922.
Homemade Love
  • Thirteen tales about small-town black people in America, serving up a bittersweet folk wisdom. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 25299; RC 41730.
Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime
  • Ten stories of women who seek love, contend with the risks of romance, and eventually find happiness. In the initial story, a country-bred young woman moves to the city in search of a husband who will make her feel like a "femme fatale." Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 43868.
Some Soul to Keep
  • Collection of stories featuring feisty, determined women whose lifelong struggles for dignity lead to ultimate triumph in spite of adverse circumstances. In "Sisters of the Rain," Superior is raised in poverty, but inherits a love of learning from her mother. In "Redwinged Blackbirds," the narrator's mother and father are killed by the KKK. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 07231.
The Wake of the Wind
  • Africa, circa 1764. Acquaintances Kola and Suwaibu are captured and transported to America. One hundred years later two of their descendants, Mordecai and Lifee, marry on a plantation just prior to the Civil War. After they are freed the family starts on a journey to find a home. Some violence. In Process.

Corbin, Steven.

A Hundred Days From Now: A Novel
  • When black screenwriter Dexter Baldwin falls in love with wealthy Hispanic Sergio Gutierrez, it is a bittersweet affair. They are both HIV-positive and Sergio soon shows symptoms of AIDS. Dexter's attempts to help Sergio are frustrated by Sergio's mood swings and his refusal to admit his bisexuality to his family. Now Sergio is given a second chance--a bone-marrow transplant from his twin brother. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 39573.
No Easy Place to Be: A Novel
  • The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s is the backdrop for this novel about three sisters. Miriam, the oldest, is a nurse and is deeply committed to the Marcus Garvey movement. Louise, the youngest, who is so light-skinned she can "pass," becomes a dancer at the Cotton Club. Velma is a Barnard student and an aspiring writer, who becomes part of the New York literary world. Some strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 30368.

Cuthbert, Margaret.

The Silent Cradle
  • Dr. Rae Duprey is an obstetrician at Berkeley Hills Hospital. Her former lover Bo Michaels now runs a nearby maternity center. When the hospital handles a string of emergency cases originating from the center, Rae begins an investigation that puts both her job and her life at risk. Strong language and some violence. RC 47401.

D'Aguiar, Fred.

The Longest Memory: A Novel
  • Set in Virginia in the early 1800s. Different generations of white landowners and black slaves present the experience of plantation life. When the master's daughter teaches Chapel, a rebellious youth, to read, he falls in love with her and attempts to run away. But the man Chapel calls father, hoping for leniency, reveals Chapel's whereabouts. And the punishment--200 strokes--kills him. Some strong language. RC 41393.

Danticat, Edwidge.

Breath, Eyes, Memory
  • Until age twelve, Sophie is raised by her aunt in Haiti. Her mother then sends for her to come to New York and explains that Sophie is the product of rape. When a grown Sophie is befriended by an older musician, her mother tests her virginity. Sophie rebels by violently deflowering herself, an act that later causes her to seek sexual phobia therapy. She marries the musician and tries to come to terms with her past as her mother does the same. Some violence. BR 09784; RC 46001.
The Farming of Bones: A Novel
  • Amabelle Desir and Sebastien Onius are young Haitians in love living in the Dominican Republic in 1937. Sebastien works cutting sugar cane--"farming the bones"--while the orphaned Amabelle is a housemaid. When Generalissmo Rafael Trujillo orders the Dominican army to slaughter all of the Haitian guest workers, up to twenty thousand perish. Amabelle flees across the border and prays for Sebastien's safe passage. Violence. RC 47501.
Krik? Krak!
  • Ten short stories that reflect, to some degree, the violence and despair of the author's native Haiti. "Children of the Sea" is an exchange of letters, never sent, between a young woman and her lover, who is aboard a leaky boat en route to Miami. "Nineteen Thirty-Seven" describes the harsh treatment of a Haitian woman imprisoned for witchcraft. BR 10749; RC 47187.

Dash, Julie.

Daughters of the Dust
  • In 1926 Amelia Varnes, raised in Harlem, returns to her mother's home on the Sea Islands of South Carolina to work on her thesis in anthropology. She had planned to study Gullah traditions and folklore but is soon absorbed in her own matriarchal heritage and decides to return to teach on the islands. Title in production.

Davis, Arthur Paul, ed.

Cavalcade: Negro American Writing from 1760 to the Present. BRA03169.

Davis, Thulani.

1959: A Novel
  • In 1959, Turner, Virginia, is still segregated and has a dual school system. twelve-year-old Willie Tarrant, living with her brother and her widowed college-professor father, is just beginning to experiment with kissing, makeup, and grown-up clothes when proposed school integration and a sit-in at the Woolworth's "whites only" lunch counter change the town forever. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35111.

Delany, Samuel R.

  • Alien invaders disrupt Earth's communications and data flow with an unknown battle code Babel-17. General Forester and the Cosmic Poetess, Rydra Wong, must find a way to discern the inner meaning of the aliens' bizarre communications weapon or watch the human race perish. Nebula Award. RC 16378.
  • As the sun grows deadly, the world goes mad. Society perishes and savagery rules, and all that was known is over. In these dying days of earth, a young drifter enters the city. Explicit descriptions of sex. Strong language. Violence. RC 09457.
The Ballad of Beta 2
  • Joneny, a student of galactic anthropology, is assigned the problem of unraveling the true meaning of a folk ballad about the disappearance of Starship Beta-2. His investigations lead him to the truth about man's ultimate place among the stars. RC 16553.
Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand
  • The magnetic bond between Rat Korga, sole survivor of his planet's destruction, and Marq Dyeth, son of a powerful diplomatic clan, threatens to upset the delicate balance of forces in a future world. A sensual, cerebral, and lyrical science fiction novel. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 23110.

Demby, William.

Love Story Black
  • A jaded professor of black literature in desperate need of extra money finds himself on a writing assignment for "New Black Woman Magazine." He is to interview Mona Pariss, aged Josephine-Baker-era chanteuse who, although once the toast of Europe, now inhabits a Harlem apartment in squalid obscurity. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 25487.

Dickey, Eric Jerome.

  • Title under consideration for production [August 2000].
Friends and Lovers
  • Shelby has just left a bad relationship and moved in with her best friend, Debra. When the two Los Angeles women meet comedian Leonard, sparks fly between him and Debra. A double date later, Shelby is falling for Leonard's best friend, Tyrel, but the two relationships run very different courses. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 47505.
Milk in My Coffee
  • Recently moved from Tennessee to New York City, African American Jordan Greene is confused by his attraction to Kimberly Chavers, an artist he met in a cab. Kimberly is white and Jordan, who has only dated black women, is nervous to even be seen with her. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 47504.
Sister, Sister
  • Two sisters, Inda and Valerie, call each other Red and Black because of their skin tones. The sisters find an unlikely friend in a third woman as each attempts to deal with a dead-end relationship and carve out a new life. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 47502.

Dixon, Melvin.

Trouble the Water
  • Twenty years after fleeing the backwoods of North Carolina, Jordan Henry, an African-American professor at an exclusive New England college, returns to bury his grandmother. Unable to escape his bitter memories, Jordan is compelled to confront his hapless, wayward father in an explosively violent encounter, liberating both men from the demons of the past. Nilon Excellence in Minority Fiction Award. RC 34087.

Dove, Rita.

The Darker Face of the Earth: A Verse Play in Fourteen Scenes
  • Set in the South before the Civil War, this classical tragedy is based on the Oedipus legend. A white woman gives birth to a black baby and agrees to give him up if his life is spared. Twenty years later, the woman, now plantation mistress, acquires a slave named Augustus. Rebellious but susceptible to his owner's charms, Augustus becomes embroiled in an uprising just as he learns the truth about his heritage. RC 39360.
Through the Ivory Gate: A Novel
  • When Virginia King returns to Akron as an artist-in-residence for an elementary school, she is transported back to her own early childhood in that town. These memories are mingled with those of her life after Akron--her family's sudden move to Phoenix, her frustration as a black drama student, her disappointing first love, and her experiences with a puppet troupe. Some descriptions of sex. RC 36005.

Due, Tananarive.

The Between: A Novel
  • As a child, Hilton James was rescued from drowning by his grandmother, who perished to save him. Now a family man of almost forty, he begins to think his borrowed time is running out. Haunted by dreams of death and threatened by a psychotic who stalks his family, Hilton finds his grip on reality slipping. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 43640.

Dumas, Henry.

Ark of Bones and Other Stories
  • Nine short stories reflecting the conflicts, fears, dangers, ironies, and joys of black life from the woods of the South to the streets of Harlem. The author was killed by a policeman in Harlem in 1968. RD 07687.
Goodbye, Sweetwater: New & Selected Stories
  • A collection of short stories by Henry Dumas, who was killed in 1968 by a New York City transit police officer. Settings range from small towns of the rural South to the explosive streets of Harlem in the late 1960s. His stories are imbued with myth and folklore, pain and anger. BR 07850.

Duplechan, Larry.

Captain Swing: A Love Story
  • Black singer Johnnie Ray Rousseau returns to Louisiana, where he hopes for a deathbed reconciliation with his father, who disowned him when Johnnie admitted to being gay. The trip elicits painful memories of the death of his lover, Keith, less than a year earlier, and Johnnie must also struggle with his attraction to his cousin Nigel. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 40770.

Edwards, Louis.

Ten Seconds
  • A ten-second race at a high-school track meet is transformed into a slow-motion instant replay of Eddie's thoughts as he watches the event. Flashbacks of his past and images of his future depict the twenty-six-year-old black man's relationships and troubled home life. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 34107.

Ellison, Ralph.

Flying Home and Other Stories
  • Thirteen short stories, some never before published, written by the award-winning African American author between 1937 and 1954. "In a Strange Country" features an African American sailor who envies a spirit among the Welsh people that he does not experience back home. Transients encounter rail-yard thugs in "Hymie's Bull." Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 43853.
Invisible Man
  • Classic novel of man's search for identity. Follows a young black man from his youth in a Southern town through the depression years in Harlem, where he examines and rejects the values thrust on him by both whites and blacks. BR 08550; RC 09600.
Juneteenth: A Novel
  • Senator Sunraider lies in the hospital struggling to survive a gunshot wound. The apparently white politician asks to see Reverend Hickman, the African American minister who raised him. In the course of their conversations, the senator recalls his childhood and begins to understand his own complex racial identity. Some strong language. Bestseller. BR 12277; RC 48438.

Everett, Percival L.

God's Country: A Novel
  • When Curt Marder sees a gang of men burning down his house and barn, killing his dog, and kidnapping his wife, he has half a mind to ride up to them and say something, but doesn't. Later, he decides to hire black tracker Bubba to help find his wife. The men are joined by young Jake, who claims the same gang killed his parents. The three get in a heap of trouble. Strong language and violence. BR 10206.

Fair, Ronald L.

We Can't Breathe
  • Ernie tells how he and his buddies struggled to survive the Chicago ghetto and to reach manhood with even a little self-respect left. Based on the author's life. Strong language. RD 10192.

Fairbairn, Ann.

Five Smooth Stones: A Novel
  • Novel of racial conflict about a young black demonstrator from New Orleans who becomes a hero in the civil rights movement. A brilliant scholar at Harvard and Oxford, he marries a white girl and returns to the South to continue the struggle for equality. Some strong language and violence. RC 10599.
That Man Cartwright: A Novel
  • A successful Madison Avenue advertising executive inherits a newspaper in California's Junipero Valley and becomes involved in the migrant workers' struggle. He witnesses the poverty and shabbiness of the workers' lives and resolves to use his newspaper to correct the injustices they suffer. BRA04877.

Ferrell, Carolyn

Don't Erase Me: Stories
  • Stories about young people of the urban underclass--mostly poor, black, or biracial and from broken or dysfunctional families. In "Proper Library," a black teenage boy, who is responsible for the care of several younger siblings, is shunned by his classmates because of his homosexuality. Strong language. BR 11598.

Forrest, Leon.

Divine Days: A Novel
  • Joubert Jones returns to the Chicago area following a stint in the army. A would-be playwright, Jones tends bar until he gets settled, and patrons combine with his memories to create a drama of African-American life. One role goes to Sugar-Groove, a recently deceased friend, and another goes to Imani, his restless girlfriend. Over the next seven days, other voices, living and dead, join the epic scene unfolding in Jones's head. Some strong language. RC 38161.

Foster, Cecil.

No Man in the House

  • Young Howard Prescod endures a life of poverty with his grandmother in Barbados in hopes that he can join his parents who are working in England. Instead he is saved by the arrival of a new headmaster at school--a black man who grew up in Barbados. Shocked by the literacy level of Howard's classmates, Mr. Bradshaw guides them towards their examinations, encouraging them to become aware of such things as the island's bid for independence. Strong language. RC 37229.

French, Albert.

  • In a small Mississippi town in the 1930s, two black boys venture into forbidden territory--a pond where white people swim. They are spotted by fifteen-year-old Lori Pasko and her cousin Jenny. Lori catches ten-year-old Billy and gives him a beating. Billy pokes her with his pocket knife. Horribly, the tiny wound proves fatal. Unwary Billy faces powerful social attitudes as he is tried as an adult for murder. Strong language and violence. RC 38455.

Gaines, Ernest J.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: A Novel
  • A novel in which a Louisiana ex-slave tells the story of her long life from the end of the Civil War to the civil rights struggles of the mid-20th century. BR 01645; RC 16542.
A Gathering of Old Men
  • When a black man kills and shoots a Cajun farmer in rural Louisiana, a young white woman rallies the other black men in the area to his defense. The "gathering of old men" face the local sheriff--each with an identical shotgun, each claiming to be guilty. Meanwhile, across town the youngest brother of the murdered man argues with his father against organizing a lynch mob to take revenge against the old men. Some strong language. For junior and senior high and older readers. RC 27290.
In My Father's House
  • In a small, rural, black community in the deep South, a confrontation occurs between the Reverend Phillip Martin, an important civil rights leader, and a callow, young, unkempt stranger, who brutally exposes the minister's buried past. Some strong language. RC 12116.
A Lesson Before Dying
  • Bayonne, Louisiana, 1948. A young, naive black man has been sentenced to death for the murder of a white man--a murder that he did not commit. His attorney argues that he is too stupid to plan a crime. "Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair..." Galled by this defense, Jefferson's godmother, Miss Emma, turns to Grant, the plantation schoolteacher, to teach Jefferson to die like a man. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 36694.

George, Nelson.

Urban Romance: A Novel of New York in the '80s
  • Dwayne Robinson is a black music critic in New York who dreams of writing a book. He meets and falls for Danielle Embry, a book editor who has just been accepted into Columbia Journalism School. Meanwhile, Danielle's law-student roommate has an affair with a married judge, and Dwayne's roommate and mentor finally settles down with one woman. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 41072.

Golden, Marita.

And Do Remember Me
  • Jessie Foster runs away from her Mississippi home to escape her father's sexual abuse. She is befriended by Lincoln Sturgis, who enlists Jessie in Freedom Summer. Jessie also finds a true friend in activist and scholar Macon Hightower. After Jessie is a hit in an amateur production of Lincoln's play, she adopts the name Pearl Moon and leaves for New York with Lincoln. Some strong language, some violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex. BR 09862.
The Edge of Heaven
  • Fearing her mother's return from prison, African American college student Teresa recalls life when her father was at home and her sister was still alive. Her mother, Lena, is also worried about facing family and friends after her release. Over time, they all struggle to understand the terrible events that led to a child's death. Some descriptions of sex. Title in production.

Gunn, Gay G.

Nowhere to Run
  • California, 1849. Wealthy ex-slave Exum Taylor sends his best friend Solomon Hawk back to Georgia to buy an African woman. Solomon returns with beautiful Cassie Lee, who is eager to experience freedom and love--but will not settle for Exum's brutishness. Explicit descriptions of sex and some violence. In Process [August 2000].

Guy, Rosa.

A Measure of Time
  • Traces the picaresque adventures of one brash, sassy woman who flees Alabama for the glitter of the fabled Harlem of 1926. Her search for luxury is rewarded as she becomes one of the most skillful shoplifters in the country. Also offers a glimmer of Harlem's history. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 19677.
My Love, My Love, or, The Peasant Girl
  • Based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale, this is the story of the ill-fated love of a poor, beautiful peasant girl for a rich young mulatto. Desiree rescues handsome, bronze-skinned Daniel Beauxhomme from a near-fatal car crash and believes that their meeting is ordained by the gods, who demand that she be his healer. Their love is short-lived, because she is abandoned by Daniel for one of his own class. RD 24123.

Hailstock, Shirley.

Whispers of love
  • Robyn was a material witness in a federal case. To allow her pilot husband, Grant, to continue his career, Robyn chose to go into the Witness Protection Program alone, letting Grant think she had died. When they meet again after five years, Grant doesn't recognize surgically altered Robyn, now called Brooke, and he falls in love with her. But someone Robyn's testimony hurt has found her, too. Explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 41194.

Haley, Alex and David Stevens.

Mama Flora's Family: A Novel
  • A three-generation saga of Flora Palmer and her family. Born in Mississippi, she moves to Tennessee, marries a sharecropper, and raises her son and a niece. Years later, the children's offspring include social activists, Black Muslims, respected professionals, and a few with serious problems. All share a common respect for their matriarch. Some violence. BR 12268.

Hansberry, Lorraine.

A Raisin in the Sun: A Drama in Three Acts
  • A middle-class black family in Chicago, torn by tensions and discontent, suffer further when they receive a life insurance settlement. No one can agree on what should be done with the money. BRA09977; RC 15750; RC 43547.
The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window: A Drama in Three Acts. BRJ00600.
To be Young, Gifted and Black. BRX00219.

Harris, E. Lynn.

Abide With Me: A Novel
  • Raymond and Trent live together in Seattle where Ray is being considered for a judgeship. Nicole and Jared are in New York where she will star in a stage production. Basil is finally getting therapy. But each runs into roadblocks on the way to happiness. Sequel to "Just As I Am" (RC 48093). Strong language. RC 48031.
And This Too Shall Pass: A Novel
  • Lives of four African American professionals intersect in Chicago. Zurich is an NFL quarterback. Sean is a gay journalist who covers Zurich. Mia, a sports anchor, is attracted to Zurich. And Tamela, an attorney, represents him when an accusation threatens his career. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 42209.
If This World Were Mine: A Novel
  • Four black graduates from Hampton Institute continue their friendship through monthly meetings of a journal-keeping support group. For almost twenty years, Yolanda, Dwight, Leland, and Riley help each other through marriage, love, sexual identity, and work crises until the group is strained to the breaking point. Strong language and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 45016.
Invisible Life: A Novel
  • Raymond Tyler, a black college senior, is dating his "hometown honey" when he is approached by bisexual Kelvin Ellis. Raymond's horror turns to surprise at his own attraction. When Raymond moves on to law school and a career in New York, he becomes more openly bisexual. As he falls in love twice, first with a man and then with a woman, he learns that Kelvin's fiancee has AIDS. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 38731.
Just as I Am
  • In "Invisible Life" (RC 38731), Ray and Nicole broke up because of his bisexuality, and now both are attempting to rebuild their lives. But they are thrown together again as their mutual friend Kyle struggles with the final stages of AIDS. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 48891.

Haynes, David.

Live at Five
  • Middle-class African American Brandon Wilson anchors a TV newscast in the Twin Cities. His producer decides that Wilson isn't "black" enough and has him "go back to the streets" to cover the horrors of ghetto life. But there Wilson finds a different story from what his boss envisioned. Strong language. RC 43206.
Somebody Else's Mama
  • Al and Paula Johnson live with their twin sons in an African American town in northern Missouri. Paula cares not only for her sons, but also for her feisty and cantankerous mother-in-law, Miss Kezee, whom Paula invited to stay after Ms. Kezee became a widow. Paula struggles to unify her household while Al runs for mayor. Some strong language. RC 43734.

Haywood, Gar Anthony.

Fear of the Dark
  • When Aaron Gunner becomes disillusioned with the private detective business, he turns to construction. But since there are no other black P.I.s around, Gunner's name comes up when a black murder victim's sister wants to find the white man who killed her brother. Reluctant acceptance of the case leads Gunner into a potential race war between white supremacists and black militants. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 33828.
Not Long For This World: An Aaron Gunner Mystery
  • Darrel Lovejoy, a man committed to saving black youths in Los Angeles, is killed in a drive-by shooting. Although a witness identifies gang member Toby Mills as the trigger-man, Toby's public defender believes it's a frame. Private investigator Aaron Gunner is thrown into the world of gangs as he tracks down the homeboy who can clear Toby's name. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35086.

Hearne, John.

The Sure Salvation
  • Taut, dramatic novel of good and evil aboard the "Sure Salvation," a nineteenth-century slave ship completely becalmed in the South Atlantic. The illegal expedition comes to a horrifying end as Alex Delfosse, ship's cook and physician, guards a secret which will reserve for him a fate different from the others. Strong language and some descriptions of explicit sex. BR 05326.

Heath, Roy A. K.

The Ministry of Hope, or, The Metamorphosis of Kwaku: A Novel
  • In Guyana, folk healer Kwaku, down on his luck, moves to the city to seek his fortune as an antique dealer. His patron, a government minister, uses Kwaku for his own political and personal intrigues. Kwaku eventually learns to adapt to a new life surrounded by corruption. RC 46735.
The Shadow Bride
  • Betta Singh, a Guyanese-born physician of Indian descent, works as a government doctor fighting malaria on a plantation in Guyana. His domineering, wealthy Hindu mother is angered by her son's idealistic aspirations and his marriage to a Muslim. She herself lives in luxury until she eventually loses her fortune to a conniving Hindu holy man. RC 43616.

Herron, Carolivia.

Thereafter Johnnie
  • This apocalyptic tale about the decline of a family is set in Washington, D.C., just before a worldwide race war in the year 2000. Johnnie is the daughter of an affluent black doctor and his unstable daughter, who is obsessed with him. The story is narrated by various family members and retold years after the war as a legend in which Johnnie is doomed to forever haunt the Carnegie Library as a dancing light. Explicit descriptions of sex. RC 34994.

Hill, Ernest.

A Life for a Life
  • A drug dealer demands fast cash from fifteen-year-old D'Ray or he will shoot the boy's younger brother. D'Ray robs a convenience store, killing the young clerk. After D'Ray's conviction, the victim's father insists that D'Ray fulfill his son's dreams. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. In Process [August 2000].

Himes, Chester B.

All Shot Up
  • In the course of probing a series of street killings, detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones encounter a female-impersonating dancer, a gypsy fortune teller, and other interesting types as they hone in on the culprits. Originally published in 1969 titled Don't Play with Death. Strong language and violence. RC 46168.
The Big Gold Dream
  • Pursuing two apparently unrelated murders, detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones are led into a squalid Harlem ghetto, where they confront the killer in an explosive showdown. Strong language and violence. RC 46006.
Blind Man With a Pistol
  • Detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones track the killer of a white, homosexual filmmaker amid the street violence and racial upheavals of a Harlem ghetto in the late 1960s. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. RC 45204.
A Case of Rape
  • Written in 1956 and first published in 1963. An American socialite dies under suspicious circumstances in a Paris hotel room. The four African American men who were also in the room are tried for rape and murder. The trial for this apparently clear-cut crime becomes a racially driven travesty of justice. Some strong language. RC 45349.
The Collected Stories of Chester Himes
  • The son of a college professor and a teacher, Himes went from honor student to prison inmate by the age of nineteen. In these sixty short stories, Himes, a prolific writer best known for his detective novels, explores the gamut of African-American experiences during the madcap 1930s and the war-torn 1940s. Most stories are terse, emotionally charged accounts of violence and desperation fueled by racism. Strong language and violence. RC 35396.
The Heat's On
  • Tough cops Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones are cited for use of excessive force in making a heroin arrest. Soon after, Jones is shot and his death is announced as a ruse to maneuver the pair of detectives into position for a major drug bust. Strong language and violence. RC 45227.
Pinktoes. [No annotation.] BRJ00501.
A Rage in Harlem
  • After Jackson is swindled by a con artist promising quick riches, he steals cash from his job, then gambles it away. Out of options, the hapless Jackson joins forces with police, hoping to recover his money and avenge himself. Strong language and violence. RC 45215.
The Real Cool Killers
  • There is no dearth of suspects with strong motives when Galen the Greek is found murdered. Galen's ostentatious wealth and his penchant for young black girls make for a tough and complicated case for police to crack. Strong language and violence. RC 45726.
Run Man Run
  • \A drunken white detective accidentally kills a black night porter in a New York City restaurant. Attempting to cover his tracks, he shoots a second porter and wounds a third, whom the cop pursues to a bloody and tragic end. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. RC 45273.
Yesterday Will Make You Cry
  • Autobiographical novel first written in 1937, released in 1953 as Cast the First Stone and now returned to its original form and title. Himes, who spent seven years in prison, relates the story of a poor white man, Jimmy Monroe, and his journey through the criminal justice system. Some strong language and some violence. Title in production.

Holman, John.

Squabble, And Other Stories
  • In these eleven short stories the central characters are young African-Americans who confront pressures of being young adults. In the title story, Aaron, an unemployed teacher, refuses to let bleak job prospects interfere with his ability to cope with the present. In "Pimp," friends are reunited after a long time, but Becky is college-bound while Todd is headed for trouble. Some strong language. RC 36820.

Holton, Hugh.

Violent Crimes
  • The bombing of a Black Muslim mosque is psychopath Steve Zalkin's first strike for imagined past wrongs. Zalkin is working a Chicago hit list that includes cops, a reporter, and a nun. Also targeted is officer Larry Cole, who races to stop the madman. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. RC 46632.

Huggins, Nathan Irvin, ed.

Voices from the Harlem Renaissance. BRA03224.


Hughes, Langston.

The Langston Hughes Reader
  • Collection of short stories, poems, articles, speeches, plays, song lyrics, novel excerpts, and autobiographical highlights by the famous American black author. RC 20463.
Simple's Uncle Sam
  • Short stories featuring a black living in Harlem who comments on the hopes and frustrations of the lives around him. BRA13452.
The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers: An Anthology from 1899 to the Present
  • Such writers as Richard Wright and Owen Dodson, as well as some newcomers, are among the authors of these 46 stories. Biographical notes appear at the end. BRA15671; RC 25467.

Hughes, Langston and Zora Neale Hurston.

Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life
  • A play about song-and-dance partners Jim and Dave, who get into a jealous fight over Daisy, one striking the other with a mule bone. They go to trial where the whole town is split over the issue of whether a mule bone is a weapon. Includes an account of the squabble between the joint authors that prevented production and publication of the play in 1930. RC 33663.
The Return of Simple
  • Stories featuring the fictional character Jesse B. Semple, or Simple, drawn from Hughes's previous collections of newspaper columns and from his weekly column in the Chicago Defender. Perched on his Harlem barstool, Simple muses with Boyd, his longtime companion, on topics including the women in his life, wages and prices, racism, politics, birth control, Africa, and black pride. BR 10110; RC 40407.
Short Stories of Langston Hughes
  • Forty-seven short stories by the noted African American author originally writtenbetween 1919 and 1963. The tales, arranged in chronological order, include those previously uncollected, such as his first stories (written while in high school) and other early works published in African American journals. Some strong language. RC 43646.
Simple's Uncle Sam
  • Short stories featuring a black living in Harlem who comments on the hopes and frustrations of the lives around him. BRA13452.
Tambourines to Glory, a Novel
  • Two Harlem women, one a scoundrel and the other scrupulously honest, decide to start a church which becomes more than a nonprofit religious enterprise. BRA04231.

Hurston, Zora Neale.

I love Myself When I Am Laughing ... And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean And Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader
  • An anthology of selection from Hurston's articles, short stories, autobiography, essays, fiction, and African-American and West Indian folklore. Hurston was part of the Harlem Renaissance. Her writings, plus commentary by Mary Helen Washington and Alice Walker, provide insight into this most prolific black woman writer during the 1930s and 1940s. RC 33319.
Jonah's Gourd Vine: A Novel
  • Hurston, a Harlem Renaissance novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist, paints a sympathetic portrait of a philandering preacher, John Buddy Pearson. Lucy, John's long-suffering wife, is his true love, but there are a host of other women who vie for his attention, cater to his lusts, and lead to his ultimate downfall. This novel provides a picture of Southern African-American life in the first decades of the twentieth century. RC 33181.
Moses, Man of the Mountain
  • Novel based on an adaptation of the biblical account of the life of Moses. Written in black dialect and colloquial English, the story emphasizes Moses as the magician, the emancipator of the Hebrew slaves, and features other aspects of the Moses legend which have appealed to black people. RC 24396.
Mules and Men
  • This collection includes seventy black American folktales, a series of hoodoo rituals, a glossary of folk speech, an appendix of folk songs, conjure formulas, root prescriptions, and a personal account of the author's collecting experiences. Its publication was historically important as the first book of African-American folklore collected by a black American and presented by a major publisher for a general audience. BR 07985.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • This classic novel tells the story of Janie, a handsome black woman, and her three marriages: to middle-aged Logan Killicks, a prosperous farmer; to Joe Starks, a go-getter who makes Janie Mrs. Mayor Starks of Eatonville, Florida; and to Tea Cake Woods, who teaches Janie, at forty, the reality of love and happiness. RC 35745; RD 23977.
Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life
  • A play about song-and-dance partners Jim and Dave, who get into a jealous fight over Daisy, one striking the other with a mule bone. They go to trial where the whole town is split over the issue of whether a mule bone is a weapon. Includes an account of the squabble between the joint authors that prevented production and publication of the play in 1930. RC 33663.
Novels and Stories
  • Four novels and nine short stories by the noted Harlem Renaissance novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. Includes "Jonah's Gourd Vine," "Their Eyes Were Watching God," "Moses, Man of the Mountain," and "Seraph on the Suwanee." Strong language and some descriptions of sex. For senior high and older readers. RC 45243.
Seraph on the Suwanee: A Novel
  • Originally published in 1948. Arvay Henson, a poor young "Florida cracker," tries to keep suitors away with the aid of hysteria and religion. But Jim Meserve, who falls for her in spite of her precautions, insists on marriage. Jim and Arvay's personal and sexual roles are often in conflict, adding confusion to their attempts to live as simple gendered beings in this turn-of-the-century novel. Some strong language. RC 33643.

Jackson, Sheneska.

Blessings: A Novel
  • Hair salon owner Pat Brown views the beauty parlor experience as a substitute for therapy. She and her staff share their problems: Pat is infertile, Zuma wants to be artificially inseminated, widowed Faye is struggling to raise her children, and Sandy neglects her two babies. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 48172.

James, Kelvin Christopher.

  • Uxann is a shy, overweight, gifted student who lives with her father, Seyeh, a plantation overseer in Trinidad. Life has been relatively kind to Uxann, but now that she is becoming a young woman, her shy innocence is put to the test. Her best friend Keah is expelled from school, Uxann finds Keah sleeping with Seyeh, and then Uxann unknowingly gets pregnant. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. RC 38135.
Jumping Ship and Other Stories
  • Fourteen stories. The first five are set in Trinidad, where the author spent his childhood. The next two, including the title story, relate travels to New York, and the last are set in Harlem, where James now lives. While the first stories are erotic and touched with mystery, the last section shows the violence of Harlem. The final story tells of a father returning to Trinidad with his son. Violence, descriptions of sex, and some strong language. RC 38041.

Johnson, Charles Richard.

Dreamer: A Novel
  • During the tense summer of 1966 in Chicago, Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers are trying to quell outbreaks of violence. Matthew Bishop introduces King to Chaym Smith, who could easily pass as King's double. Their struggle against racial prejudice and social upheaval is presented from Bishop's point of view. Title in production.
Middle Passage
  • The year is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a witty, well-educated freed slave eking out a living as a petty thief in New Orleans, hops aboard a square-rigger to evade the prim Boston teacher who wants to marry him. But the "Republic" turns out to be a slave clipper bound for Africa. Calhoun hates himself for acting as henchman to the ship's captain, a dwarfish tyrant. Before the crew can mutiny, African captives stage a revolt. National Book Award. BR 09054; RC 32593.

Jones, Edward P.

Lost in the City: Stories
  • Short stories set in Washington, D.C. In the title story, Lydia Walsh is awakened by a middle-of- the-night telephone call informing her of her mother's death. Lydia is so overcome that she directs a cab driver to get her lost in the city. But it seems that memories confront her at every turn. Each of Jones's stories reveals aspects of African-American culture in a world removed from the tourist sights. Some violence, strong language, and descriptions of sex. RC 37108.

Jones, Gayl.

Eva's Man
  • An African American woman, forty-three and in prison, is on the edge of insanity and searching for her lost innocence. Eva Medina tells how she landed behind bars a second time and about the men who put her there. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. BR 11809.
The Healing
  • Harlan Jane Eagleton follows her thoughts from her present itinerant faith-healing practice to her former job as manager for a female rock singer. A series of flashbacks include a trip to East Africa with her medical anthropologist husband who was studying a Masai medicine woman. Some strong language. BR 12064.

Keene, John.

  • Acclaimed novel about an African American child coming of age in the St. Louis suburbs during the 1960s. In poetic prose, describes the narrator's discovery of racial, sexual, and intellectual identity during turbulent times. Some descriptions of sex. BR 10716.

Kelley, William Melvin.

A Drop of Patience
  • Poignant novel of a tortured anti-hero, a gifted jazz musician who is black and blind. Though he is lucky as a musician, he is completely luckless in love. Some strong language. BR 04464.

Kenan, Randall.

Let the Dead Bury their Dead and Other Stories
  • Life for black residents of Tims Creek, North Carolina, oftentimes has an otherworldly side to it. Elderly Mr. Stokes nurses to health an Asian stranger whom he finds in his yard. When Stokes faces punishment for revenge on the town bigot, the mysterious stranger grants Stokes his last wish. Meanwhile, a toddler's first words are messages from the dead. Strong language, some violence, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 37824.

Killens, John Oliver.

And Then We Heard the Thunder
  • This partially autobiographical novel tells the story of an American black soldier--Solly Saunders--who drops out of law school and becomes an officer in an all-black amphibious unit during World War II. The story describes the experience of the soldiers as they deal with the strains of war and racism. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 07486; RC 28279.
Great Black Russian: A Novel on the Life and Times of Alexander Pushkin
  • This historical novel of Pushkin's life during the early nineteenth century shows the firebrand poet to be proud of his African great-grandfather--who became a favorite of Peter the Great--despite being emotionally abused by his mother because of his dark complexion. Here is Pushkin--the man, the writer, the revolutionary, womanizer, and the husband. Descriptions of sex. RC 33644.

Kincaid, Jamaica.

Annie John
  • Lyrical tale of young Annie John, aged ten to seventeen, as she grows up on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Death, illness, and poverty intrude on her life from time to time, but these experiences only help to instruct and expand her understanding of life. RC 23142.
At the Bottom of the River: A Collection of Short Stories
  • Prose, poems, and character portraits evoking memories of a Caribbean childhood. RCF01341.
The Autobiography of My Mother
  • Xuela, born in Dominica to a Carib mother (who dies giving birth) and a Scottish-African father, is placed in the care of her father's laundress. Xuela finds her way in the world, but despite a series of relationships with older men, she remains unloved and alone. Yet Xuela endures, through her tormented relationship with her aloof father and through her indifferent marriage to an English doctor. Some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 41920.
  • Lucy, a West Indian au pair, comes to work for Lewis and Mariah and their four children in New York. Soon the beautiful facade begins to develop cracks. As Lucy reflects on the life she has left behind, ponders the truth about the world she has entered, and discovers the adult she is becoming, a new person emerges. RC 33125.

Kitt, Sandra.

Adam and Eva
  • Eva Duncan, on holiday, arrives at the beautiful island of St. John, and finds it is not quite the picture of serenity and tranquility she had believed it would be. Some of her chagrin is the fault of neighboring marine biologist Adam Maxwell. Eva hears him sternly ordering his young daughter about and decides that someone has to stand up to this man, even if it must be herself. Some descriptions of sex. Harlequin American Romance. RC 23209.
Perfect Combination
  • At a medical convention in New Orleans, pretty Dr. Dale Christensen is caught up in the excitement of Mardi Gras and in a romantic encounter that changes her life. Some explicit descriptions of sex. Harlequin American Romance. RC 23530.

Lamar, Jake.

The Last Integrationist
  • A political tale set in a racially divided America. Conservative U.S. Attorney General Melvin Hutchinson, an African American espousing public executions and other harsh crime measures, is on the verge of being named vice president. But party leaders have a private agenda, and Hutchinson has a potentially explosive secret. Some strong language. RC 42965.

Larsen, Nella.

Quicksand and Passing
  • Two novels about women in Harlem in the 1920s. Quicksand (1928) features Helga Crane, a sophisticated young woman of mixed lineage who moves between the white and black world and eventually entraps herself in marriage to a backwoods southern preacher. And in Passing (1929), Irene Redfield has a secret desire to banish her friend Clare Kendry, an African American passing for white, from her circle. RC 40702.

Lee, Helen Elaine.

The Serpent's Gift
  • After her window-washing, abusive father falls to his death, Vesta Smalls, fearing her own misstep, settles for being a bystander and caretaker. She and her mother, who bears a serpentine scar, and her baby brother, LaRue, move in with compassionate Ruby Staples and her family. LaRue grows to spin tall tales featuring Miss Snake. The two black families merge to face together life, death, and renewal during the next six decades. Some descriptions of sex. RC 39295.

Lester, Julius.

And All Our Wounds Forgiven
  • The central character in this novel, John Calvin Marshall, is a fictional version of Martin Luther King Jr. The story is told in flashbacks and from the perspective of many years. Marshall, his wife, a white mistress, and a close associate in the civil rights movement assess their successes and failures and ponder whether the effort was worthwhile. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 39886.
Do Lord Remember Me: A Novel
  • Novel about a day in the life of an elderly and ailing black minister, Reverend Joshua Smith. Now in his eighties and writing his own obituary, he looks back upon his Mississippi family's hardships, his early call to preach, and his often troubled relationships with his wife and sons. Smith's memory links with that of others to take him back to slavery times. Some violence and strong language. RC 23181.
Long Journey Home: Stories From Black History
  • Six short stories about slaves and freed men created from brief historical references to each of the characters which include a blues singer, a "perfect" slave, and a black cowboy. RD 06530.
Two Love Stories
  • "The Basketball Game" traces the friendship of Allen, a young black, and his white neighbor, Rebecca, during the Nashville summer of 1956. In "Catskill Morning," a young couple finds that they must pursue their separate lives to gain the individualism that they cannot find together. RD 06710.

Lincoln, C. Eric.

The Avenue, Clayton City
  • A perspective on the experience of southern blacks before World War II in mythical Clayton City. The story centers on the Avenue and such various black stereotypes as Ben Gallimore, proprietor of the only eatery in Clayton City that serves blacks; Dr. Walter Tait, a medical practitioner who serves as the novel's commentator on black culture; and a host of teens, hoodlums, addicts, and prostitutes. Some strong language. RC 28068.

Lovelace, Earl.

The Dragon Can't Dance: A Novel
  • Title under consideration for production.

Major, Clarence.

Painted Turtle, Woman With Guitar: A Novel
  • Short novel tells about a wandering Zuni Indian folk singer. The narrator, Baldy, is a Navajo who plays the electric guitar and is sent to the little town of Cuba, New Mexico, on a mission to see the Zuni folk singer Painted Turtle, on behalf of their booking agent, Peter Inkspan. Baldy falls in love with her and learns her life story. Some descriptions of sex. BR 07653.
Such Was the Season: A Novel
  • Annie Eliza is the aged matriarch of a black Atlanta family that has its share of prominent citizens and ne'er-do-wells. Opinionated, talky, and an avid television watcher, she tells of a series of events that takes place during a particularly eventful week for her family. Her estranged nephew, June-boy, comes for a visit; her highfalutin daughter-in-law declares her intention to run for the state senate; and her flamboyant preacher son is threatened by a scandal. RC 26929.
Calling the Wind: Twentieth Century African-American Short Stories
  • An expansive collection of African American short stories written between 1899 and 1991 by a diverse array of writers. Included are stories by Charles Chesnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, Ernest J. Gaines, Al Young, Terry McMillan, and many, many others. Some strong language. For high school and older readers. RC 39164.

Major, Devorah.

An Open Weave
  • Imani turns seventeen today. Her mother, grandmother, and extended family want to celebrate, but Imani has not come home. Although she knows the family is waiting, Imani chooses to stay with her best friend, Amanda, who is pregnant and has no one else to turn to. While the family tells stories of the past, Imani helps Amanda cope with the present. RC 42922.

Maraire, J. Nazipo.

Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter
  • A Zimbabwean mother's long letter to her daughter, who is on her way to study at Harvard. Reflects on the elder woman's life and her role in the nation's struggle for independence. Explores the concept of family and what it means to be a woman in this African culture. In Process [August 2000].

Marshall, Paule.

  • Thirty-four-year-old Ursa Mackenzie's life in New York is in flux--her relationship with her lover flounders as she secretly aborts their child, and her next career move depends on a research grant. It is during this period that Ursa is summoned home to the island of Triunion, where she begins to understand the role of her father, who is running for reelection as prime minister. Some strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 36574.
Praisesong for the Widow
  • Following a dream, a black, middle-aged, middle-class widow uncharacteristically deserts her friends in the midst of a Caribbean cruise. While waiting for a plane home, she meets an old man who urges her to go to his island home. The harrowing trip to the island cleanses and liberates her, linking her intimately with the culture and history she has disavowed. RC 19195.
Reena and Other Stories
  • Collection of the author's early short fiction written between 1954 and 1969. The title story deals with the experiences of a black woman and what she learned from the white man's world. One nonfiction entry reflects on Marshall's introduction to language. RC 20805.

McMillan, Terry

Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction
  • A landmark collection of African-American fiction from the 1970s and 1980s. Stories and excerpts from fifty-seven writers, who exhibit a wide variety of styles and approaches, are included. Also contains an insightful introduction by the editor and biographical notes on each writer. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 08523.
Disappearing Acts
  • The bittersweet story of the love affair of an African-American couple, set in Brooklyn in 1982. Franklin Swift is thirtyish, a high school dropout and sometime construction worker. Zora Banks is a young music teacher from Ohio who aspires to become a singer. The story is told from alternating points of view so that both Zora and Franklin tell us how they move from being friends to lovers, and how they cope with life. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 32437.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  • Forty-two-year-old Stella Payne, a successful, divorced black woman, decides on impulse to go to Jamaica while her son is visiting his father. Not expecting romance, Stella is shocked to be wooed by a twenty-year-old Jamaican student and even more surprised to find herself falling in love. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 42803.
  • Mildred Peacock lives in poverty in a dilapidated house in the black ghetto of Point Haven, Michigan, with her violently abusive, alcoholic husband. She has five children. She herself is hooked on booze and pills. As the 1960s turn into the 1970s, Mildred embarks on an odyssey which will take her to both coasts and, perhaps, to a new understanding of her daughter, Freda, and of herself. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 25683.
Waiting to Exhale
  • Phoenix, Arizona, 1990. Four black thirty-something girlfriends commiserate over the lack of appealing eligible men. Bored with Denver, Savannah has moved to town at the urging of her friend Bernadine, whose wealthy husband has just left her for his young white bookkeeper. Robin jumps from one loser to another, while Gloria tries to ignore her nonexistent love life by focusing on her son. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. FD 35862; RC 35862.
Elbow Room: Stories
  • Collection of twelve versatile short stories involve a young urban black who delights in country music, the partners in an interracial marriage, and the jealousy of lovers. Some strong language. RC 16996.

Meriwether, Louise.

Daddy Was a Number Runner
  • This novel portrays a young black girl growing up in the poverty and excitement of Harlem during the 1930s. BRA15887; RC 36177.
Fragments of the Ark
  • Peter Mango has been a slave all his life. But with the Civil War underway, he sees hope for himself, his family, and other Charleston slaves. A skilled river pilot, Peter confiscates a Confederate boat, loads it with family and friends, and escapes through Charleston harbor to a waiting Union boat. Even though his flight is successful and he becomes a member of the Union navy, real freedom is still to come. Strong language and some violence. RC 39039.

Morrison, Toni.

Beloved: A Novel
  • Related in kaleidoscopic fashion and set in rural Ohio during the period immediately following the Civil War, this chronicle of slavery and its aftermath traces the life of Sethe, a former slave. Sethe has a secret in her past so horrific that it has alienated the community, driven off her two sons, isolated her surviving daughter, and threatened her new, loving relationship with Paul D., also a former slave. Bestseller 1987. BR 07074; FD 26026; RC 26026.
The Bluest Eye: A Novel
  • Portrayal of Pecola Breedlove, in her first year of womanhood. Poor, black, and ugly, she lives in a store front and shares a bedroom with her brother, her crippled mother, and drunken father. Pregnant by her father, she goes to Soaphead Church, believing he is possessed of holy powers, and asks for blue eyes. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 14892.
  • Joe, a middle-aged salesman, kills his teenaged mistress. His wife goes berserk at the funeral and attempts to mutilate the corpse. Against the steady pulse of Harlem in the 1920s, the storyteller improvises on the passionate and tragic themes of these three characters. Past and present voices, like jazz, share the spotlight and fade out. Some strong language. Bestseller. BR 09346; RC 44374.
  • In 1976, nine men from an African American town in Oklahoma assault a former convent, the refuge of four female outcasts. The multi-layered stories of the women, men, and town culminate in this attack, intended to purge and protect the community. Some descriptions of sex, some violence, and some strong language. Bestseller. RC 46272.
Song of Solomon
  • This novel surveys nearly a century of American history as it impinges upon four generations of a single black family. Macon Dead III, known as Milkman, is the first black baby allowed to be born in Mercy Hospital in the 1930s. Milkman undertakes an epic journey into an understanding of his family's heritage and, hence, himself. Strong language and descriptions of sex. BR 09632; BRA15619; RC 38330; RD 11023.
  • Set in an Ohio community called the Bottom, the novel follows two friends, Sula and Nel, from childhood to old age and death. Some strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BR 09661; BRJ00861; RC 08549.
Tar Baby
  • A fugitive black man, son, invades the West Indian home of a retired millionaire, creating havoc in racial and human terms among both the black and white members of the household. Finally he captivates Jadine, a beautiful, pampered black woman, and challenges her pragmatism with his idealism. Bestseller. BR 04895; RC 16600.

Mosley, Walter.

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
  • In fourteen linked stories, an older ex-con named Socrates ponders decency and formulates a moral code for African American men on the streets of Watts. Socrates employs his principles by befriending Darryl, a fatherless twelve-year-old boy, and making him take responsibility for his actions. Some violence and some strong language. Bestseller. RC 45769.
Black Betty
  • Broke and single again, private investigator Easy Rawlins ("White Butterfly"--RC 36906) is living with his two kids in West L.A. when he is hired to find a woman he admired as a young boy: the sensual Black Betty. When his investigation turns up corpses but no Betty, Easy wants to know why the wealthy Cain family is so anxious to find their ex-housekeeper. Strong language, violence, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 38938.
Blue Light: A Novel
  • San Francisco, 1960s. Needles of blue light penetrate random people, altering their states of being. A biracial grad-school dropout called Chance records these happenings and the effects of subsequent behavior, while the Gray Man (death) exacts his vengeance. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 47311.
Devil in a Blue Dress
  • Los Angeles, 1948. Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran is out of work and in need of enough money to pay his mortgage. He agrees to help a shady white mobster find a mysterious white woman dressed in blue. Finding the woman is easy--she frequents black jazz clubs--but the information Rawlins uncovers in his search puts his life in jeopardy. Some descriptions of sex. RC 32935.
Gone Fishin': An Easy Rawlins Novel
  • Prequel to Devil in a Blue Dress (RC 32935). In 1939, Easy Rawlins and Mouse are two young men on a reckless road trip to wring money out of Mouse's loathsome stepfather. Their path to manhood is crossed by violence, lust, and tragedy. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 43412.
A Little Yellow Dog: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
  • It is 1963 and Easy Rawlins has given up the mean streets for a steady job and a stable life with his adopted kids. But when he tries to help a woman in distress, his security is shattered, and he must go back to the streets to clear his name. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 40994.
A Red Death
  • It's the early 1950s in Watts, and Easy Rawlins is a black, part-time private investigator, whose career began in The Devil in a Blue Dress (RC 32935). When the IRS discovers that he secretly purchased apartment buildings with undeclared income, Rawlins reluctantly accepts a deal with the government--no prison in exchange for some unsavory detective work for the FBI. Some violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 34973.
RL's Dream
  • Old bluesman Soupspoon has had a lifetime of pain. He grew up in the Jim Crow South, is now evicted from his New York apartment, and has cancer. His free-spirited neighbor, Kiki, who has her own pain, takes him in, beginning a relationship of compassion and caring. As Soupspoon gets stronger, he tells his story in music and words, starting with blues great R.L. Johnson. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 41947.
Walkin' the Dog
  • In this sequel to Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (RC 45769), sixtyish ex-con Socrates' improved life includes his beloved two-legged dog and a new job. But the police won't stop bothering him, so Socrates comes up with a unique way to fight back. Strong language, some descriptions of sex, and some violence. 1999. Title in production.
White Butterfly
  • Easy Rawlins has backed off from private investigating since his marriage to Regina, who knows little of his real life. But the L.A. police need Easy's ties to the black community when a serial killer attacks bar girls. Easy doesn't comply until the killer chooses a white victim, who has a surprising double life, and the police accuse Easy's friend Mouse. Strong language, violence, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 36906.

Motley, Willard.

Knock On Any Door
  • Story of a young Chicago man of the streets whose short life--crammed with dreams, frustration, crimes, and an unhappy marriage--ends in the electric chair. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BRJ00823; RC 10575.

Mowry, Jess.

Six Out Seven
  • Corbitt Wainwright, thirteen, leaves his home in rural Mississippi, where the future holds no promise, and moves to West Oakland, California. Corbitt finds a community riddled with gangs, drugs, and killings, but it is there that he learns to never stop dreaming, to be careful in whom he puts his trust, and, eventually, to be a man. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. RC 38218.
Way Past Cool
  • Two gangs roam Oakland streets--the Friends, led by Gordon, thirteen, and the Crew. When a series of drive-by shootings affects both gangs, they band together against Deek, sixteen, the local drug dealer. Deek's bodyguard Ty and Markita, a single mother, provide some hope for the gangs as they struggle toward self-respect and a better life. Prequel to Six out Seven (RC 38218). Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 38184.

Murray, Albert.

The Seven League Boots: A Novel
  • In The Spyglass Tree (RC 46274), Scooter graduated from college in the 1920s. Now he joins a famous African American jazz band. Traveling across the country, he perfects his talent. He decides to stay in Hollywood to write music, but moves to France before returning to his roots in Alabama. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 46273.
The Spyglass Tree
  • Alabama, 1920s. Scooter, the African American student last seen in Train Whistle Guitar (RC 46275, BR 11742), leaves Mobile on a scholarship to the state college. Although homesick, Scooter adjusts to campus life, discovering the local blues scene and perfecting his craft as a musician. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 11742; RC 46274.
Train Whistle Guitar
  • Growing up in the 1920s deep South is an adventure to Scooter and his friends. Listening to the storytelling of family and friends and the guitar playing of Luzana Cholly encourages Scooter to get out into the world and move up North where there are all sorts of possibilities. Prequel to The Spyglass Tree (RC 46274, BR 11742). Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BR 11386; RC 46275.

Naylor, Gloria.

Bailey's Café
  • Bailey's Cafe, an enigmatic little 1940s eatery, Somewhere, U.S.A. Bailey (not his real name) is the maestro who begins by telling of his love for Negro League baseball and his wife, Nadine. Then, one by one, he spins the stories of the cafe's regulars: Mariam, an ostracized Ethiopian Jew; Sadie the wino; Iceman Jones; the recovering junkie Jesse Bell; Peaches, the nymphomaniac; and Miss Maple, a cross-dressing male. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 37586.
Linden Hills
  • The affluent African-American suburban community depicted in Linden Hills is the fulfillment of Luther Nedeed's dreams. But the success of most of its residents does little for two street-smart boys, Lester Tilson and Willie Mason, whose dialogue and poetry punctuate this story about the middle-class world where they live. Strong language. By the author of American Book Award-winning The Women of Brewster Place (RC 25314). RC 36299.
The Men of Brewster Place
  • In this companion to The Women of Brewster Place (RC 25314), African American men who live in the tenement describe their lives and daily frustrations trying to make a living while coping with their women and children. Strong language. Title in production.
Mama Day
  • Mama Day is the aged black matriarch and medicine woman of a small island off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Her niece "Cocoa" has left the island and is now married and living in New York. The story alternates between Mama Day and the couple and tells how the lure of New York and the magic of the island pull at the couple and change their relationship. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 07587.
The Women of Brewster Place
  • Seven women live on Brewster Place--and each has a story that is uniquely hers but also touches the concerns of the other women of Brewster Place--and of women everywhere. A perceptive commentary on the experience of black women in the United States. BR 11906; RC 25314.

Neely, Barbara.

Blanche Cleans Up
  • When Blanche White reluctantly agrees to fill in as housekeeper for a vacationing friend, she encounters a family in chaos. Mr. Brindle's campaign for governor is disrupted by a murder and a suicide in his household. Some of his African American supporters are particularly scornful and suspicious of Blanche. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex. BR 11910; RC 47262.

Okri, Ben.

The Famished Road
  • An allegorical tale in which Azaro, a spirit-child living with a Nigerian family, chronicles the villagers' daily routines as they struggle to overcome poverty, famine, and entrenched political chicanery. Prequel to Songs of Enchantment (RC 46293). Some violence. Booker Prize. RC 46288.
Songs of Enchantment
  • Surrealistic and poetic sequel to the Booker Prize-winning novel The Famished Road (RC 46288). In a poor Nigerian village, Azaro, a child-spirit, and his family have outwitted death. The family and village struggle with terrifying evil on two planes: among local political forces and among the spirits. Some violence. RC 46293.

Parker, Gwendolyn M.

These Same Long Bones
  • Sirus McDougald is president of the bank and a pillar of the black community in Durham, North Carolina. When his beloved daughter dies from a fall, Sirus is forced to confront his grief while coping with his fragile marriage, unscrupulous white businessmen who threaten to unravel the community, and changes in his friends. Sirus's character, values, business sense, and concern for his community help him to deal with his demons. RC 39562.

Parks, Gordon.

Learning Tree
  • The story of a black family living in a small Kansas town during the 1920s, when African Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship and terrorized by racial violence. Adolescent Newt experiences his first romance, tangles with the town tough, and wrestles with his awe of death. Strong language and violence. For high school and older readers. BR 00005; BR 11994; RC 33832.

Pate, Alexs D.

Amistad: A Novel
  • Novel based on the 1997 screenplay of the 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship bound for the United States. The victims' fate rested with former president John Quincy Adams, who defended their right to freedom before the Supreme Court. Similar books include Mutiny on the Amistad (RC 26238), Echo of Lions (RC 30493), and for children, The Amistad Revolt, 1839 (RC 07916). Bestseller. RC 45847.

Patterson, Orlando.

Die the Long Day
  • Quasheba, a West Indian slave, is missing from her quarters and it is feared that she is plotting murder against a syphilitic and lecherous plantation owner. RD 06336.

Perry, Phyllis.

  • When fourteen-year-old Lizzie inherits a trunk containing her great-grandmother's diary and a quilt made by her grandmother, her life changes forever. For Lizzie begins having out-of-body experiences that transport her back to the days of slavery, from which she awakens with bloody scars on her back and wrists. Some strong language. 1998. Title in production.

Petry, Ann Lane.

The Street
  • A black mother's struggle to protect her nine-year-old son from the influence of Harlem in which she is forced to live. Explicit descriptions of sex. Strong language and violence. RC 09447.

Phillips, Caryl.

The Final Passage
  • Title under consideration for production [August 2000].
Cambridge: A Novel
  • Thirty-year-old Emily Cartwright, an English spinster, is sent by her father to visit his sugar plantation in the West Indies and eventually becomes involved with the estate manager. Emily dutifully records her white-racist mindset in a proper nineteenth-century journal, which forms a portion of this novel. Meanwhile, Cambridge, an older black man, tells his life story and presents a contrasting view of colonialism and slavery. RC 34999.
Crossing the River
  • Four interconnected stories make up this novel of the African diaspora since slavery. The title story is the log of the slave-ship captain who purchases the "two strong man-boys and one proud girl" from their father. One son, Nash, is later purchased by a Christian who converts him and sends him back to Africa as a missionary. Other entries feature Nash's "sister's" life out West and his "brother's" World War II lover. RC 38261.
Higher Ground: A Novel in Three Parts
  • Three stories echo the theme of oppression and the human spirit. "Heartland" is narrated by an African who has been taught English so he can act as interpreter between the slave traders and his own people. "The Cargo Rap" consists of letters written by a black man in a Southern prison. And, "Higher Ground" is the story of a survivor of the Holocaust. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 31379.
A State of Independence
  • Bertram Francis returns to the small Caribbean island of St. Kitts that he left twenty years earlier, having captured a scholarship to study in England. His arrival coincides with the country's independence. As he travels through the villages to his mother's house, he realizes he has yet to forge his own independent state. BR 06808.

Pinckney, Darryl.

High Cotton
  • Fragmented and episodic, the story begins with the narrator in Indiana "on the glossy edge of the New Frontier," looking into his future among the "Also Chosen," the well-educated, polite Negroes. Precocious and nerdy, the adolescent Anglophile is briefly involved with a Black Panther splinter group, then travels to his beloved England. He ultimately decides to embrace art over ideology, and loneliness over life-style. Some strong language. RC 36312.

Porter, Connie Rose.

All-Bright Court
  • Porter's novel, set in the sixties and seventies, explores the hopes, dreams, and difficulties faced by the black families of All-Bright Court, a decaying tenement project near Buffalo. When Mikey Tate receives a scholarship to an elite prep school, he begins to see his family and his community--mostly families of steelworkers with Southern roots--with an outsider's eye. Some violence. RC 34991.

Raymond, Linda.

Rocking the Babies
  • Although Martha and Nettie Lee are both older African American women who volunteer to rock premature babies at a hospital, they dislike each other from the start. Martha wants to become a foster mother for a preemie abandoned in a Port-a-Potty. She doesn't realize that Nettie Lee is the child's grandmother, who is staying anonymous to protect her daughter. As the two women tell stories and befriend a young mother, they grow closer. Strong language. BR 10246.

Reed, Ishmael.

Flight to Canada
  • Raven Quickskill, a runaway slave in Civil War America, supports himself by giving poetry readings and abolitionist lectures in this novel that fuses history, fantasy, and political reality. Some strong language. RC 15210.
Japanese by Spring
  • As a military brat, Professor "Chappie" Puttbutt is accustomed to moving on, but after a number of short stints in dead-end posts, he is ready to settle into a tenure-track position. Chappie, an African-American in a mostly white college, becomes a victim of racism. Little do Chappie's colleagues know, however, that his Japanese tutor will become their president and that the tables will turn on them. Some strong language. RC 36723.
Mumbo Jumbo
  • An epidemic called Jes Crew floats up the river from New Orleans, threatening to destroy serious American civilization. Those who catch it find themselves singing, dancing, talking in slang, and exhibiting behavior that those not infected consider primitive. An imaginative, contemporary black folktale. Strong language. BR 10734; BRA04997.
Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down
  • A black novelist comments on 20th century society by creating a pioneer town located in a time warp. A black desperado rides into town and finds that the children have taken over the town from the adults. BR 01231.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker.

Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau
  • In the early 1800s, Marie Laveau is raised by Grandmere in the Louisiana bayou. Grandmere refuses to tell Marie about her mother (Maman) and takes her at sixteen to New Orleans to find her a husband who will keep her safe. There Marie learns that both Maman and Grandmere were voodooiennes, or vessels for Damballah. Defying Grandmere, Marie becomes voodoo queen. Strong language, violence, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 37920.

Richardson, Brenda Lane.

Chesapeake Song: A Novel
  • Thirteen years after her wedding to Charles, Tamra struggles to understand why marriage between two people who love each other is so problematic. It is especially puzzling since, as successful black entrepreneurs, they have what everyone else seems to want. The reasons behind some of their troubles are brought to light in flashbacks of the lives of Charles's and Tamra's families. Some descriptions of sex. RC 38180.

Ridley, John.

Everybody Smokes in Hell
  • When a black convenience store clerk comes into possession of the last studio tapes of a suicided rock star, he is pursued by drug lords and Hollywood agents--and who's to say who is the more dangerous? Wi-BPH, RC 00288.
Love is a Racket: A Novel
  • Two Hollywood wannabes meet and fall in love on the tarnished streets of Tinseltown. Wi-BPH, RC 00287.
Stray Dogs
  • In this noir thriller, set in the Nevada desert, a gambler meets and plots a crime with a beautiful, seductive woman. Wi-BPH, RC 00286.

Riley, Len.

  • Geneva comes to Harlem in the 1920s, determined to have a better life. As a light-skinned woman she is able to claim she is from New Orleans's black elite, instead of a poor rural Florida family. She lands a job with Lester Noble, the black owner of a real estate company, and they intend to marry. But Geneva's plans may be ruined when her cousin from Florida shows up. Strong language. RC 46939.

Sanders, Dori.

Clover: A Novel
  • Ten-year-old Clover recounts the effect her father's marriage to a white woman, Sara Kate, has on her extended family and the South Carolina community where they live. Just hours after the wedding, an auto accident takes her daddy's life, and Clover and Sara Kate ar left with grief and mutual bewilderment. The refusal of Clover's aunts and uncles to accept "Miss Uppity-class" into the family makes the adjustment harder. Bestseller. FD 31045; RC 31045.
Her Own Place: A Novel
  • In 1941 sixteen-year-old Mae Lee Hudson begs her parents to let her marry Jeff Barnes before he goes off to war. While he's gone, she earns enough money to buy the farm next door to her parents. After Jeff returns, he won't stay on the farm but manages to impregnate Mae Lee five times before leaving for good. As a divorced black farmer, Mae Lee must work hard--raising her children and working her land. Finally she retires, but her adventures aren't over yet. RC 37081.

Schulberg, Budd, ed.

From the Ashes: Voices of Watts
  • Poems, short stories, essays, plays, and television scripts by participants in the Watts Writers' Workshop, communicating moral outrage, anger, frustration, defeat, ethnic pride, nationalism, and courage. BRA03667.

Senna, Danzy.

  • 1970s. Cole and Birdie Lee, daughters of a black professor and a white revolutionary, live in Boston. Their father takes the darker daughter, Cole, to Brazil. Birdie, left with her radical mother, is soon on the run from the FBI. Living as a white person and confused about race and identity, she desperately misses her sister. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Title in production.

Shange, Ntozake.

Betsey Brown: A Novel
  • Poetic novel set in the late 1950s in St. Louis when the civil rights movement began to form. Tells the story of precocious thirteen-year-old Betsey Brown who yearns for adulthood and beauty. Explores the initial fears of the family when the Brown children become the first blacks to be bussed to white schools. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 23651.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf: A Choreopoem
  • Prose-poems that describe what it means to be a young black woman in a tragic world of deceitful men. These poems were the basis for a successful play. Some strong language. RC 11665.
Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter
  • Liliane, an African American artist, is haunted by her mother's death. Her story comes together like pieces of a puzzle in chapters narrated by Liliane, her childhood friends, and her lovers, alternating with sessions between Liliane and her analyst. RC 40794.
Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo: A Novel
  • An original first novel by a celebrated poet and playwright tells the story of three black daughters of a loving, no-nonsense mother in Charleston, South Carolina. The mother wants a comfortable middle-class life for her girls, while the daughters reject comfortable convention. Yet their ties to mama grow stronger with time and distance. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. BR 05334.

Sinclair, April.

Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice: A Novel
  • Sequel to Coffee Will Make You Black (RC 40187). Stevie is a young African American woman coming to terms with her sexual and racial identity in the 1970s. A trip to San Francisco becomes a journey of self-discovery as she explores feminist perspectives and lesbian relationships. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 42921.
Coffee Will Make You Black
  • Sixth-grader Stevie first attracts the attention of the popular kids by naively stating that she's "not exactly" a virgin. She begins to mature during the civil rights and black power era. By the time Stevie is sixteen, Martin Luther King has been killed and the same kids who once argued about who was lightest have now demanded a black faculty. Amid these changes, Stevie also examines her sexual identity. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 40187.

Smith, Mary Burnett.

Miss Ophelia: A Novel
  • Rural Virginia, 1948. Eleven-year-old Isabel "Belly" Anderson must spend the summer in a neighboring town helping her mean aunt recuperate from an operation. Once there, the young African American takes piano lessons from her mother's friend Ophelia. Belly learns many adult secrets during her vacation and the meaning of love and loyalty. Some strong language. RC 48085.

Southerland, Ellease.

Let the Lion Eat Straw
  • Story of a black woman's struggle to survive. Abeba Williams, born illegitimately in rural North Carolina, moves to Brooklyn with her mother to seek a better life. She develops a promising musical talent, but economic and social realities require that she fight for a decent life for her husband and children. During this struggle, she achieves a revelation of the glory in apparently ordinary lives. BR 04536.

Toomer, Jean.

Cane. BRA12187.

Verdelle, A. J.

The Good Negress
  • In 1963 Denise Palms is caught between two worlds. She struggles with caring for her mother's newborn and looking out for her irresponsible brother, and with her desire to fulfill her educational ambitions, motivated by her inspiring teacher. Some descriptions of sex. RC 43632.

Wade, Brent.

Company Man: A Novel
  • Billy Covington writes to a childhood friend, explaining how he, a successful black Republican executive with a beautiful wife and a Jaguar XJ6, came to be a maimed hospital patient recovering from a botched suicide attempt. Billy's recent impotence and paranoia, coupled with a threatened sexual harassment suit, are symptomatic of a lurking, complex problem connected with his lifestyle. Some violence and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35165.

Walker, Alice.

The Color Purple
  • Two impoverished sisters have different fates--Nettie travels to Africa with a missionary family while Celie is married off to an abusive older man. Celie writes letters to God discussing events around her. Eventually she begins to take charge of her life. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. Pulitzer Prize. BR 07222; BR 12265; RC 18576.
In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women
  • The stories of black women, differing from one another in age and class, but sharing the pains of despair, hatred, neurosis or insanity, and the experience of love. RD 06927.
  • Truman Held, a black civil-rights worker turned New York artist, returns to the southern town of Chicokema to find his friend Meridian. Meridian, expelled from a New York revolutionary group for refusing to swear that she would kill as well as die for the Movement, returns to the South to work for the poor blacks. As Truman and Meridian talk, the author retraces their lives. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 21374.
Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • Tashi, a character from The Color Purple (RC 18576) and The Temple of My Familiar (RC 29039), is an Olinka woman married to Celie's son Adam. During her adolescence, Tashi submitted to genital mutilation, one of her people's tribal customs. Now she suffers great physical and emotional pain. She needs professional help before she can possess the secret of joy. Violence, some strong language, and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. RC 36174.
The Temple of my Familiar
  • Centers on three pairs of characters: Suwelo, a black professor of history, and his wife Fanny, who has discovered feminism and wants a divorce; Arveyda, a famous guitarist in search of his past, and Carlotta, his Latin American wife who is a refugee from hers; and Lissie, a woman of a thousand rebirths, and her painter companion, Hal. Some descriptions of sex. FD 29039; RC 29039.
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
  • Sophisticated short stories include a wide range of subjects from the lives of the ordinary poor to the lives of artists, academics, political organizers and well-heeled businessmen. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BRA17615.

Walker, Margie.

  • Marcellus Cavanaugh can't believe that his partner Don Wellsing hired his ex-girlfriend, Pauline Sinclair, to be the company nurse. When Don is poisoned and another man killed, Pauline becomes the chief suspect. Marcellus and Pauline find their love rekindling just at the wrong moment. Some violence and some explicit descriptions of sex. Title in production.

Walker, Margaret.

  • The daughter of a plantation owner and his black mistress is reared to young womanhood as a servant in this story which chronicles the triumph of a free spirit over many forms of bondage. RC 41543; RD 06337.

Washington, Mary Helen, ed.

Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers
  • "I once told a friend that families were like minefields; that we walk and dance through them never knowing where or when something or someone is going to explode." Thus begins the introduction to this anthology of stories and poems by black writers about the family. Included are works by Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, John Edgar Wideman, and Rita Dove. RC 33655.

Wesley, Valerie Wilson.

When Death Comes Stealing
  • Now a private detective, Tamara Hayle quit her job on the police force when her young son, Jamal, was harassed by cops just because he was black. Her ex-husband, DeWayne Curtis, has four other sons all by different women. When two of the sons die, DeWayne begs Tamara to find out if someone killed them. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. BR 10429.

West, Dorothy.

The Richer, the Poorer: Stories, Sketches, and Reminiscences
  • A collection of works by the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance. West includes her first short story, "The Typewriter," written when she was seventeen, along with later stories and essays recounting everyday experiences: needing money, relating to family members, and coping with death. RC 42997.
The Wedding
  • Harlem Renaissance author Dorothy West writes of the Oval, an elite black community on Martha's Vineyard during the 1950s. The Coles, a prominent family, are dismayed that daughter Shelby is marrying a white jazz musician, a union that raises issues of race and class. At the same time, womanizer Lute McNeil desperately wants to gain acceptance by the Oval and is determined to do so by marrying Shelby himself. Some strong language. RC 40947.

White, Edgar.

The Rising: A Novel (Nkosi)
  • Desmie, a young bank teller on a Caribbean island, rebels against Mother Frances, her domineering grandmother, who disapproves of Desmie's suitor, Carlton. Although skeptical herself about Carlton's life-style and reputation, Desmie is drawn to him sexually and becomes pregnant. Mother Frances's outrage is soon replaced by her plan to take control of Desmie's new son, Legion. Strong language, explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. RC 36603.

Wideman, John Edgar, ed. with Katrina Kenison.

The Best American Short Stories, 1996: Selected from U.S. and Canadian Magazines
  • Twenty-four stories with multicultural themes by new and well-known writers. "The Eve of the Spirit Festival," by Lan Chang, chronicles the uneasy assimilation of an Asian widower and his two daughters. In Mary Gordon's "Intertextuality," a woman creates a vivid portrait of her Irish grandmother. Descriptions of sex and some strong language. Bestseller. RC 43660.

Wideman, John Edgar.

  • A collection of stories set primarily in Homewood, the black Pittsburgh ghetto where the author grew up, and centered around the family of Sybela Owens, one of the first settlers of Homewood. These stories convey the poetry and pathos of Homewood and of one family's history from slavery to the 1960s. Begins Homewood Trilogy. Companion to Hiding Place (RC 36473) and Sent for You Yesterday (RC 35708). Strong language. RC 36472.
Fever: Twelve Stories
  • In the title story an African-American nurse-undertaker narrates the catastrophe of a yellow fever epidemic in eighteenth-century Philadelphia. Two stories are about a jazz player and a bluesman. Several scenes return to Wideman's Pittsburgh neighborhood for themes with different perspectives, each using the fever metaphor to depict suffering in many forms. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35220.
Hiding Place
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tommy's plans to commit robbery have gone awry, and a man is dead. Tommy seeks a hiding place with "crazy, evil" Bess, his great-grandmother's sister, who, because of the deaths of her son and her husband, has severed all ties with her family to live as a recluse in a shack overlooking Pittsburgh. Homewood Trilogy. Companion to Damballah (RC 36472) and Sent for You Yesterday (RC 35708). Strong language. RC 36473.
Hurry Home
  • A story of racial awareness told in a very private and sensitive way by Cecil Otis Braithwaite, a poor, bright, black, law school graduate who walks out on his bride on their wedding night and returns three years later. BR 01381.
Philadelphia Fire: A Novel
  • The novel opens with Cudjoe, a former professor and writer, learning of the 1985 MOVE disaster while in self-exile on the island of Mykonos. Cudjoe, now a drifter, feels like "a half-black someone" because of his failed marriage to a white woman. The MOVE tragedy consumes him, and he returns to his devastated West Philadelphia neighborhood in search of a lost boy who survived the fire, and of the fire's larger meaning. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 36381.
  • Reuben, an elderly, wizened black man, lives in an abandoned trailer and works as a lawyer for his neighbors in the Homewood ghetto of Pittsburgh. His clients include an assistant coach at a major university, who must deal with his murderous fantasies and the intentions of the university to make him a scapegoat; a young prostitute fighting to keep her child; and a mentally ill man who lives out his passions and delusions on the street. Some strong language, some violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 27502.
Sent for You Yesterday
  • Set in Homewood, a black ghetto, the story travels back and forth in time from 1934 to 1970. Doot, the main narrator, provides a frame for the reminiscences of his uncle, Carl French; Carl's best friend, the albino Brother Tate; and Lucy Tate, Carl's mistress and Brother Tate's adopted sister. At the center of all their stories is the tragedy of Albert Wilkes, a gifted piano player shot by the police as he sat at the Tate's piano. Strong language. RC 35708.
The Stories of John Edgar Wideman
  • This volume, by a two-time winner of the PEN Faulkner Award, contains two earlier collections, Fever and Damballah, along with the completely new All Stories Are True. Wideman, who frequently returns for his settings to Homewood, the black section of Pittsburgh where he grew up, weaves autobiographical elements and family members into his fiction. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35457.

Williams, Dennis A.

  • Richard Isaac enters an Ivy League school in 1969 alienated by his blackness, his white girlfriend Cheryl, and his studiousness. His fellow black students, who are fighting for their rights, demand loyalty from the politically naive Richard. Meanwhile, Richard's single, overprotective mother doesn't approve of his involvement with either the black radicals or Cheryl. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 35159.

Williams, John A.

Jacob's Ladder: A Novel
  • When the tiny West African nation of Pandemi, headed by fiercely independent Chuma Fasseke, rejects foreign aid and develops its own nuclear power, a disturbed United States sends in military attache Jake Henry, a soldier and childhood friend of Fasseke. But it is an assignment that Henry does not want, because his boyhood and friendship with Fasseke is a time he would rather forget. Some strong language. RC 31601.
The Man Who Cried I Am: A Novel
  • A black American writer dying of cancer tries to learn who he was and is, and in the process he uncovers some startling political information. BRA03316.
Mothersill and the Foxes
  • An allegory of black manhood telling of a sensitive social worker and womanizer concerned about the plight of children and his own inability to love. Explicit descriptions of sex. RC 08572.

Williams, Sherley Anne.

Dessa Rose
  • Feminist novel, based on two unrelated historical incidents, examines the position of women in the antebellum South and the effects of slavery on both whites and blacks. A recalcitrant female slave named Dessa forms a relationship with Rufel, a white woman who protects and befriends slaves on her remote farm in her husband's absence. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 25201.

Wilson, August.

Fences: A Play
  • Troy Maxson, a black American, struggles to come to terms with his past and the changing world around him. The son of a hard-bitten, sharecropper father, from whom he learned violence and responsibility, Troy works as a trash hauler to support his wife, Rose, and his seventeen-year-old son, Cory. He has survived a failed attempt to make it in the world of big-league baseball, and fifteen years in prison, but his own lust ultimately betrays him. RC 33614.
The Piano Lesson
  • A piano carved with their ancestral figures is causing an uproar in the Charles family. Boy Willie wants to sell the heirloom to buy the farmland his ancestors worked as slaves. His sister Berniece refuses, because their father was murdered for stealing the piano from his old master's family. Other family members, friends, and a ghost round out the cast of this two-act play. Pulitzer Prize-winner. BR 08832; RC 34104.

Wright, Richard.

Early Works
  • This volume covers Wright's prose through 1940. The editor restores Wright's original manuscripts, which had been extensively changed for publication. Includes Lawd Today! Uncle Tom's Children, Native Son, How 'Bigger' Was Born, a literary chronology, and notes by Arnold Rampersad. Prequel to Richard Wright: Later Works (RC 41553, BR 10300). Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. BR 10299; RC 41552.
Later Works
  • Presents Wright's complete autobiography for the first time, combining his childhood in the South ("Black Boy") with his life as an adult in the North (American Hunger). Also contains his 1953 novel (The Outsider), a literary chronology, and extensive notes. Sequel to Richard Wright: Early Works (RC 41552, BR 10299). Violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. BR 10300; RC 41553.
Native Son
  • Classic work shows the plight of victimized blacks fighting against the political and social conditions of Chicago in the 1930s. A frustrated and resentful black man is driven to violence and murder. BRX00110; RC 25087.
Rite of Passage
  • Posthumous novella. Johnny Gibbs is feeling good about his report card and a chance to go to the movies when he is presented with the shocking news that he's a foster child and has to move to a new home. Instead, Johnny takes to the streets, embarking on a crime spree to relieve his rage. But Johnny's search for identity turns into a struggle with alienation, poverty, racism, and power. Violence and strong language. For high school and older readers. RC 41640.

Wright, Sarah E.

This Child's Gonna Live
  • Agonizing portrait of a black ghetto in rural Maryland in the 1930s. Mariah Upshur is determined to escape from it with her children, but her strong faith and years of work prove futile. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 12542.

Wylie, James.

The Homestead Grays
  • World War II novel about an all-black pilot squadron that does battle not only with the Luftwaffe but also with the corrosive racial prejudice in the Army establishment. Some explicit descriptions of sex and strong language. RC 14903.

Yerby, Frank.

The Dahomean: An Historical Novel
  • An episode in the history of the West African kingdom of Dahomey set in the 19th century. Nyasanu, second son of an African leader, becomes governor of the province of Aladah. This is a memorable portrait of the young ruler as he is seen with his wise parents, unpredictable wives, and lively friends. Explicit descriptions of sex. BRA12977.
The Devil's Laughter. BRJ01563.
  • Ambitious Guy Falks destroys men and uses beautiful women, who find him irresistible, in his struggle to regain his aristocratic birthright and the vast plantation Fairoaks. Some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 20147.
  • Ross Pary, a handsome, powerful man from Natchez, dreams of living with the aristocrats "on-the hill." When he returns from Europe after studying to become an architect he realizes his ambition to be among the upper classes, but is tormented by the wife of a man Ross deeply respects. RC 09095.
The Foxes of Harrow
  • Set in New Orleans during the troubled years preceding the Civil War, the story of a young adventurer who arrives by pig boat. He seeks his fortune there and encounters romance. BRA08951.
The Garfield Honor
  • Just after the Civil War a young Union cavalry veteran from New York is advised to move to the West so he can recuperate from a lung wound. Once there, Roak Garfield finds that his skills in gunfighting and knife-wielding are indispensable for survival. BRA09182.
The Girl From Storyville: A Victorian Novel
  • Set in late 19th-century New Orleans, the story of the daughter of a prostitute and a policeman, who bears the stigma of her mother's profession. Explicit descriptions of sex. RD 06377.
Goat Song: A Novel of Ancient Greece
  • Historical novel of the life and loves of a young Spartan who meets Socrates and the other famous Greeks of the period. Explicit descriptions of sex. RC 08563.
McKenzie's Hundred
  • A lusty Civil War costume melodrama features Rose Ann, a green-eyed-vixen, Scarlett O'Hara type and her ice-maiden sister Gwen. As the war begins both women are swooning over Colin. The war affects mayhem in their personal lives as Gwen marries another but has Colin's baby. Rose Ann becomes sexually enslaved to a German political mercenary and is accused of being a rebel spy. Strong language and descriptions of sex. RC 23427.
Pride's Castle. BRJ00936.
A Rose for Ana Maria: A Novel
  • Diego, a young Spanish revolutionary living in Paris, accidentally murders the Spanish consul. Before fleeing France he is assigned to collaborate with the provocative aristocratic Ana on one final assassination. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 12300.
Tobias and the Angel
  • Young Tobias wends his way south to marry one of his identical twin cousins and is initiated into sex by his guardian angel Angie, a real angel. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BRA14785; RD 09333.
The Vixens
  • Returning to his native New Orleans, Laird seeks revenge and the restoration of his family fortunes. He begins by amassing wealth and then seducing the proud beauty who once spurned him. BRA09563.
The Voyage Unplanned
  • As a member of the French resistance, John Farrow falls in love with Simone Levy, a comrade-in-arms. Twenty years later, while searching for Simone, he falls in love with her sister, an Israeli intelligence agent. BRA13723; RD 07978.
Western: A Saga of the Great Plains
  • After the Civil War, Ethan Lovejoy travels to Kansas with his new wife to become a homesteader. After many years he becomes a successful landowner, but the brutal frontier life exacts a horrible payment from him and his loved ones. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 18623.

Young, Al.

Seduction by Light
  • Mamie Franklin's sensitivity to the spirit world hastens her journey from Mississippi to Hollywood. Here life reverses itself and Mamie goes from playing a housekeeper in the movies to becoming one. Some strong language. RC 29811.
Who is Angelina? A Novel
  • A restless young black woman in California searches for her own identity by her love affairs, her attempts to relate to her family, and by meditation. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BRA17061.

Youngblood, Shay.

Soul Kiss: A Novel
  • In 1968, seven-year-old Mariah's beloved mother drops her off unannounced at the home of two great-aunts in Georgia and doesn't come back. As Mariah grows up, she struggles with her grief and maintains her hope that her mother will return, but gradually becomes family with the two older women. Then her father enters her life. Some explicit descriptions of sex. BR 11440.