1852- The Heroic Slave, a novella by Frederick Douglass, is published in 1852 by John P. Jewett and Company. The novella resembles a slave narrative even though it is a work of fiction.
1853- William Wells Brown—escaped slave from Kentucky—publishes Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter in London. His novel is considered the first to ever be published by an African American.
1859- On September 5, 1859 Harriet Wilson’s novel, Our Nig, was published anonymously by George C. Rand and Avery, a publishing firm in Boston. Wilson is considered the first African American to publish a novel within the continental United States.
1859- As a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, abolitionist Martin Delany began publishing Blake: Or The Huts of America in a serialized form. This was the first novel by a black man to be published in the United States.
1898- The Uncalled, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s first novel, is published by Dodd, Meed, and Company.
1900- Charles Chesnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars is published by Boston publishing house, Houghton Mifflin Company. His novel expands the thematic representations of race, miscegenation, and passing of his earlier short story collections.
1901- Paul Laurence Dunbar’s second novel The Fanatics is published by New York publishing house Mead, Dodd and Company.
1901-1902- Sutton E. Griggs founds Orion Publishing Company in Nashville, Tennessee and publishes two self-authored novels back-to-back—Overshadowed (1901) and Unfettered (1902).
1903- Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois is published by A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago. His collection of essays and concept “double consciousness” would influence the work of many African American novelists.
1912- James Weldon Johnson publishes The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man anonymously through small New York publisher Sherman, French, and Company.