Monday, November 28, 2011

100 Black Novels by Decade, 1850-2010

[Compiled By Kenton Rambsy]

The following list presents novels in our “100 Novels Project” organized by decade. These 100 novels constitute a relatively small number of HBW’s larger collection of more than 1,000 books.  

The Heroic Slave-A Novella (1852) Frederick Douglass               
Clotel: or, the President’s Daughter (1853) William Wells Brown         
Blake; Or, The Huts of America (1859) Martin R. Delany

A Charleston Love Story of Hortense Vancross (1899) Theophilus Gould Steward
Imperium in Imperio (1899) Sutton E. Griggs       

Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South (1900) Pauline E. Hopkins    
House Behind the Cedars (1900) Charles Waddell Chesnutt
The Fanatics (1901) Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Marrow of Tradition (1901) Charles Waddell Chesnutt        
The Hindered Hand or, The Reign of the Repressionist (1905) Sutton E. Griggs 
The Sport of the Gods (1902) Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) W.E.B. DuBois
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912/1927) James Weldon Johnson
Conquest: The Story of A Negro Pioneer (1913) Oscar Micheaux
Hope’s Highway (1918) Sarah Lee Brown Fleming          

Cane (1923) Jean Toomer  
Home to Harlem (1928) Claude McKay
Quicksand (1928) Nella Larsen
The Walls of Jericho (1928) Rudolph Fisher

Not Without Laughter (1930) Langston Hughes
Black No More (1931) George Schuyler    
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) Zora Neale Hurston        

Native Son (1940) Richard Wright 
If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) Chester Himes
The Street (1946) Ann Petry           
The Living Is Easy (1948) Dorothy West   

•  Invisible Man (1952) Ralph Ellison
Go Tell It on The Mountain (1953) James Baldwin
Maud Martha (1953) Gwendolyn Brooks 
The Outsider (1953) Richard Wright         
Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959) Paule Marshall  

And Then We Heard the Thunder (1962) John Oliver Killens       
•  Lawd Today (1963) Richard Wright                      
Jubilee (1966) Margaret Walker
•  A Glance Away (1967) John Edgar Wideman
The Man Who Cried I Am (1967) John A. Williams          
Trick Baby (1967) Iceberg Slim
Mama Black Widow (1969) Iceberg Slim

The Bluest Eye (1970) Toni Morrison        
The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970) Alice Walker 
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) Ernest Gaines   
The Cotillion: or, One Good Bull Is Half the Herd (1971) John Oliver Killens
Mumbo Jumbo (1972) Ishmael Reed          
Sula (1973) Toni Morrison 
There is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden (1973) Leon Forrest     
Corregidora (1975) Gayl Jones
Dhalgren (1975) Samuel Delany
Eva's Man (1976) Gayl Jones         
Flight to Canada (1976) Ishmael Reed
Meridian  (1976) Alice Walker
Patternmaster (1976) Octavia Butler         
Roots (1976) Alex Haley
Song of Solomon (1977) Toni Morrison     
Kindred (1979) Octavia Butler       

The Salt Eaters (1980) Toni Cade Bambara          
The Chaneysville Incident (1981) David Bradley
Tar Baby (1981) Toni Morrison
The Color Purple (1982) Alice Walker      
Oxherding Tale (1982) Charles Johnson
The Women of Brewster Place (1982) Gloria Naylor        
Sent for You Yesterday (1983) John Edgar Wideman        
Two Wings to Veil My Face (1983) Leon Forrest  
Annie John (1985) Jamaica Kincaid           
Dessa Rose (1986) Sherley Anne Williams
Beloved (1987) Toni Morrison
Mama Day (1988) Gloria Naylor   
Painted Turtle: Woman with Guitar (1988) Clarence Major        

Devil in a Blue Dress (1990) Walter Mosley         
Middle Passage (1990) Charles Johnson
Philadelphia Fire (1990) John Edgar Wideman
Jazz (1992) Toni Morrison
Waiting to Exhale (1992) Terry McMillan
A Lesson Before Dying (1993) Ernest Gaines                    
Parable of the Sower (1993) Octavia Butler          
Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) Edwidge Danticat   
Brothers and Sisters (1994) Bebe Moore Campbell
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1996) Terry McMillan
The White Boy Shuffle (1996) Paul Beatty 
Paradise (1997) Toni Morrison     
Caucasia (1998) Danzy Senna 
The Healing (1998) Gayl Jones
Parable of the Talents (1998) Octavia Butler        
The Intuitionist (1999) Colson Whitehead
Mosquito (1999) Gayl Jones           

The Coldest Winter Ever (2000) Sister Souljah
Erasure (2001) Percival Everett
John Henry Days (2001) Colson Whitehead          
Leaving Atlanta (2002) Tayari Jones         
Getting Mother's Body (2003) Suzan-Lori Parks
The Known World (2003) Edward P. Jones
Love (2003) Toni Morrison
The Man in My Basement (2004) Walter Mosley              
Apex Hides the Hurt (2007) Colson Whitehead
A Father's Law (2008) Richard Wright      
A Mercy (2008) Toni Morrison
Black Water Rising (2009) Attica Locke                           
Sag Harbor (2009) Colson Whitehead       
Getting to Happy (2010) Terry McMillan                         
Some Sing, Some Cry (2010) Ntozake Shange

[Notable Findings Concerning 100 Black Novels]


  1. Thanks for the list. I am a part of a Back To The Classics blog read in 2012 and most of the participants have not chosen any books by writers of African descent. Most of us don't know or remember these books. This list helps a lot.

  2. For the decade of the 1950s, add Richard Wright's The Long Dream.

    J.W.Ward, Jr.

  3. I can't believe anyone found this fascinating, complex book hard to read. The author explores the motivations behind the black masters' acceptance of slavery and shows how a this acceptance infects a whole society. Jones takes us inside the heads of master and slave alike, sometimes waxing lyrical in his description of emotional epiphanies.