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Cover of Another Country
by James Baldwin

Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, Another Country is a novel of passions--sexual, racial, political, artistic--that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime.

Cover of Beloved
Morrison, Toni

In 1873 Ohio, former runaway slave Sethe is haunted by the ghost of her murdered daughter, the presence simply known as 'Beloved.'  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Morrison probes the psychological scars of slavery and the dark legacy it left to those who survived.

Cover of The Color Purple
by Alice Walker

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple is the heart-wrenching story of a young black girl in the early 20th century who's forced into a brutal marriage and separated from her sister.

Cover of House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros

The story of a young girl, Ezperanza, growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong, not to her run-down neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Capturing her thoughts and emotions in poems and stories, she is able to rise above hopelessness and create a quiet space for herself in the midst of her oppressive surroundings.

Cover of Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri's Pulitzer-prize winning collection of stories follows the journeys of Indian Americans navigating identity and love in America and eastern India.  

Cover of Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

First published in 1952, an African-American man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social confusion.

Cover of The Joy Luck Club
Tan, Amy

Four Chinese women, who emigrated to San Francisco following the 1949 Revolution, struggle to relate to their increasingly independent and Americanized thirty-something daughters.  

Cover of No-No Boy
Okada, John

John Okada's 1957 novel follows the  postwar experiences of Ichiro Yamada, a Japanese-American who refused to swear loyalty to the United States and enlist in the military--responding 'no-no' on a government loyalty questionnaire.   Imprisoned for his refusal, Yamada returns to a postwar life estranged from his parents, and struggling to reconcile his experiences with those Japanese-Americans who were interned or served in the military.  Perceived as neither fully American nor Japanese, Yamada's experiences echo those of the author Okada, himself an internee and veteran.  

Cover of Stories, Novels, & Essays
by Charles W. Chesnutt

Rejecting his era's genteel hypocrisy about miscegenation, lynching, and "passing," Charles W. Chesnutt broke new ground in American literature with his innovative explorations of racial identity and use of African-American speech and folklore. Chesnutt exposed the deformed logic of the Jim Crow system-creating, in the process, the modern African-American novel. Here is the best of Chesnutt's fiction and nonfiction in the largest and most comprehensive edition ever published, featuring a newly researched chronology of the writer's life.

Cover of The Street
by Ann Petry

First published in 1946, The Street follows the efforts of Lutie Johnson to shield her son from the poverty and violence that surrounds them in Harlem.  

Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching G
by Zora Neale Hurston

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years--due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist--Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Cover of Three Classic African-Amer
by William Wells Brown ; Frances E.W. Harper ; Charles W. Chestnutt

William Wells Brown, Frances E.W. Harper, and Charles W. Chesnutt, three black writers who bore witness to the experience of their people under slavery, create a portrait of black life in the 19th century in these three novels:

Clotel; or, The President's Daughter by William Wells Brown is considered to be the first novel written by an African American. It tells the story of three generations of black women who struggle with the constrictions of slavery.

Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted by Frances E.W. Harper, written in 1892, "attempted to counter specious notions of slavery popularized by white writers who idealized plantation life, while offering models of socially committed middle-class African Americans who exemplify the ideals of uplift that motivated much of Harper’s writing" (Encyclopedia Britannica School Edition).

The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt, published in 1901, tells the story of a racial massacre in 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, it "was reviewed extensively throughout the United States as a timely study of troubling contemporary issues.”