Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyA Brief History of African American Literature

  • Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:00:00    Permalink

    Given the long history of African American literature--one fraught with difficulty and violence--how can we even begin to give a brief account? By all accounts, the first published works of African American literature came about in the 18th century, at a time when the United States was just coming into being and when newly recognized citizens, with clearly defined rights and freedoms, owned slaves. Conditions of slavery produced a certain genre of writing, which we’ve come to describe as slave narratives. By the time the late 19th and early 20th centuries came around, Jim Crow policies led to  enormous discrimination and violence in the South, yet novelists still produced some of the most notable works of fiction in our collective history.

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