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.
1913- Author and director Oscar Micheaux publishes his first novel, Conquest: The Story Of A Negro Pioneer, through The Woodruff Press. The novel is published anonymously and is based on his life as a homesteader.
1918- Hope’s Highway by Sarah Lee Brown Fleming is published by Neale Publishing Company
1923- Cane by Jean Toomer is published by Boni and Liveright.
1926-1927- Oscar Micheaux directs and produces The Conjure Woman (1926) and The House Behind the Cedars (1927). These two films are inspired by two novels by Charles Chesnutt.
1927- Knopf Publishing company republishes The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man with James Weldon Johnson being credited as the author unlike the 1912 version.
1928- The Walls of Jericho by Rudolph Fisher is published by Knopf.
1928- Home to Harlem by Claude McKay is published by Harper and Brothers.
1929- Claude McKay wins Harmon Gold Award for Literature for his novel Home to Harlem.
1929- Passing by Nella Larsen is published by Knopf.
1929- The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life by Wallace Thurman is published by the Macaulay Company
1930- Not Without Laughter, the only novel written by Langston Hughes, is published by Knopf.
1930- Nella Larsen becomes the first black person to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She uses the funds to travel Europe to write a novel.
1931- Black No More by George Schuyler is published by The Macauley Company
1932- One Way To Heaven by Countee Cullen is published by Harpers.
1937- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is published by J.B. Lippincott.
1940 – Native Son by Richard Wright is published; the work is a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.
1941 – Orson Welles directs stage adaption of Native Son by Richard Wright. Actor Canada Lee stars as Bigger Thomas.
1941 – Richard Wright receives the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal.
1945 – If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes is published.
1946 – The Street by Ann Petry is published.
1952 – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is published.
1953 – Ralph Ellison receives the National Book Award for Fiction for Invisible Man.
1953 – Go Tell It on The Mountain by James Baldwin is published.
1953 – The Outsider by Richard Wright is published.
1953 – Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks is published.
1959 – Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall is published.
1962 – And Then We Heard Thunder by John Oliver Killens is published.
1963 – Lawd Today! By Richard Wright is published posthumously.
1966 – Jubilee by Margaret Walker is published.
1967 – The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams is published.
1970 – The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Publisher.
1971 - The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines is published.
1972 – Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed is published and becomes, along with Flight to Canada (1976), one of Reed’s most critically acclaim works.
1974 – The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, a television movie based on the novel by Ernest Gaines, is broadcast on CBS.
1975 - Corregidora by Gayl Jones is published.
1976 – Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley is published.
1976 – Flight to Canada by Ishmael Reed is published. The novel becomes, along with Mumbo Jumbo (1972), one of Reed’s most critically acclaimed works.
1977 – Roots, the television mini-series, based on Alex Haley’s novel, airs on ABC, on January 23 – 30.
1977 – Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison is chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. The novel assists in giving Morrison national attention.
1979 – Kindred by Octavia Butler is published. The novel, which is based on time travel and slavery, assists in bringing Butler attention beyond the genre of science fiction.
1980 – The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara is published.
1982 – The Color Purple by Alice Walker is published.
1982 – The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor is published.
1983 – Alice Walker wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple.
1985 – Steven Spielberg produces and directs The Color Purple, a film based on Alice Walker’s novel.
1986 - A second adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son is made with Victor Love playing the role of Bigger Thomas and Oprah Winfrey playing his mother, Mrs. Thomas.
1988 – Toni Morrison wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel Beloved.
1989 – Donna Deitch directs the television mini-series The Women of Brewster’s Place based on Gloria Naylor’s novel. The mini-series stars Oprah Winfrey, Robin Givens, and Jackée.
1990 - Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley is published.
1990 - Middle Passage by Charles Johnson is published.
1990 – Charles Johnson is awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for Middle Passage. During his acceptance speech, Johnson acknowledged the 1953 winner of the award Ralph Ellison, who was in the audience.
1992- Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan is published.
1993 – Ernest J Gaines A Lesson Before Dying is published by Knopf Publishing group.
1993 - Ernest J Gaines A Lesson Before Dying wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
1993 – Toni Morrison wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
1994 – Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat is published.
1995 – Carl Franklin directs Devil in a Blue Dress based on Walter Mosley’s novel. The film stars Denzel Washington.
1995 – Forest Whitaker directs Waiting to Exhale based on Terry McMillan’s novel. The film stars Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.
1995 - Carl Franklin directs Devil in a Blue Dress based on Walter Mosley’s novel. The film stars Denzel Washington.
1995- Octavia Bulter becomes the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.
1996 – The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty is published.
1996 – Oprah Winfrey starts “Oprah’s Book Club,” featuring book for her viewers to read and discuss.
1996 – Oprah’s Book Club features Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (1977) in October.
1997 – Oprah’s Book Club features Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying (1993) in September.
1997 – Paradise by Toni Morrison is published.
1998 - Oprah’s Book Club features Toni Morrison’s Paradise (1997) in January.
1998 – Kevin Rodney directs How Stella Got Her Groove Back based on Terry McMillan. Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, and Whoopi Goldberg star in the film.
1998 – Oprah’s Book Club features Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) in May.
1999 – The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is published.
2000 – Oprah’s Book Club features Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970) in April.
2000 - The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah is published.
2001 – John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead is published.
2002 – Colson Whitehead receives a MacArthur Fellowship.
2002 – Oprah’s Book Club features Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) in April.
2002 - Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones is published.
2003 - Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks is published.
2003 – Love by Toni Morrison is published.
2003 - The Known World by Edward P. Jones is published.
2004 – Edward Jones is awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in for The Known World (2003).
2007 - Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead is published.
2008 - A Father's Law by Richard Wright is posthumously published.
2008 - A Mercy by Toni Morrison is published.
2009 - Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead is published.
2011 – Zone One by Colson Whitehead is published.
2011 – Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is published.