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Research Guides

ENG/AFST 339.500: African American Literature Post 1930 -Prof. Mikko Tuhkanen (Fall 2020)

Class texts

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature

Organized chronologically, this anthology of African-American literature brings together the work of 123 writers from 1746 to the present. This second edition features a varied selection of genres and a wealth of vernacular forms.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.      Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Parable of the Sower

After her neighborhood is overrun by a pyromaniac cult, adolescent Lauren Olamina gains followers on her way toward refuge in California. Awards: SLJ Best Book; YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.

Search Terms and Strategies

Search for:


Authors-search last name comma first name (ex. angelou, maya)

  • Maya Angelou
  • James Baldwin
  • Imamu Amiri Baraka
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Octavia Butler
  • Ta-Nehesi Coates
  • Cullen, Countee
  • Angela Y. Davis
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Ernest Gaines
  • Marcus Garvey
  • bell hooks
  • Langston Hughes
  • C.R.L. (Cyril Lionel Robert) James
  • Alain Locke
  • J. A. (Joel Augustus Rogers
  • Alice Walker
  • Richard Wright