Sunday, June 9, 2019

From Jubilee to The Water Dancer: 25 novels about slavery

For decades now, modern and contemporary African American writers have produced works about slavery. I've written about and identified several poems about slavery as well as "slavery references" in rap music. And we also have several novels about slavery, sometimes referred to as neo-slave narratives.

This fall, Ta-Nehisi Coates will release his debut novel, The Water Dancer, which focuses on slavery and the Underground Railroad. An excerpt, "Conduction," was published by The New Yorker last week.

What follows is a list of 25 novels about  slavery -- from Jubilee to The Water Dancer.

1966: Jubilee by Margaret Walker
1971: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines
1975: Corregidora by Gayl Jones
1976: Flight to Canada by Ishmael Reed
1976: Roots by Alex Haley

1979: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
1980: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
1981: The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley
1982: Oxherding Tale by Charles Johnson
1986: Dessa Rose by Sherley Anne Williams

1987: Beloved by Toni Morrison
1990: Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
1991: Family by J. California Cooper
1998: The Wake of the Wind by J. California Cooper
2001: Cane River by Lalita Tademy

2001: The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall
2003: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
2008: Song Yet Sung by James McBride
2008: A Mercy by Toni Morrison
2009: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

2012: Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
2013: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
2016: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
2016: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
2019: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Poems about slavery and struggles for liberation
Slavery, Black Writers, and creativity
A checklist of poems featuring ex-slaves

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