Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Black Book History and the greatest 25 years in African American women's writing

As I've noted before, a case could be made that 1969 - 1994 represents the greatest 25 years in African American women's writing. We have outstanding works by everyone from Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, and Toni Morrison to Octavia Butler, bell hooks, Elizabeth Alexander, and Tricia Rose. There's a long list of contributions.

As I was reflecting on the publication of works over time, I thought about those many works by black women writers during that 25-year stretch of time. Like various other periodizations, those years are somewhat arbitrary. However, the emergence of a large and distinct group of black women writers in the late 1960s does stand out to me. And people have regularly acknowledged some of those writers.

But there's usually talk of the novelists, the poets or the essayists and scholars, with fewer discussions linking them or highlighting their collective contributions. And, we usually limit the talk of the contributions of the writers to the 1970s aside from a few exceptions such as Walker's The Color Purple (1982) and Morrison's Beloved (1987). Alright, but if we take Butler, bell hooks, Rose, and others into account, we could easily extend with an uninterrupted flow of works up the mid-1990s.

If we're thinking through various moments concerning Black Book History, we'd definitely be inclined to note many works produced during that 1969 - 1994 time frame. 

Black Book History, February 2019
The greatest 25 years in African American women's writing?
Black men writers and creativity, 1995 - 2016

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