African-American Literature has a Rich History of Wonderful Writers
February is a time when we celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans. In literature, we look at writers like James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Rita Dove, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ralph Ellison, Olaudah Equiano, and others.
African-American literature has a rich history of wonderful writers. The Harlem Renaissance was a period in American literature, which spanned from the end of World War I into the 1930s. Writers like Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois, Countee Cullen, Angelina Grimke, Jean Toomer, and Langston Hughes wrote about the alienation and marginalization in American society. Black writing explores many themes but a reoccurring focus is the exploration of freedom, equality, and self expression. Striving for these basic rights has been such a large part of the Black American experience that it is entrenched in the minds of its authors and naturally comes through in their writing. Modern African American authors encourage their readers to examine their preconceptions, whether openly or more subtly.
African-American women authors have a prominent place in this genre; Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry in 1949. Popular female authors of today include Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker. Each is clearly a Black voice, distinctive and resonant. The richness of their pieces always leaves the reader changed. There is no finer compliment to offer fine literature.
"I like to tell the truth as I see it. That's why literature is so important. We cannot possibly leave it to history as a discipline nor to sociology nor science nor economics to tell the story of our people. It's not a ladder we are climbing, it's literature we're producing, and there will always be someone to read it."
- Nikki Giovanni
- Nikki Giovanni
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