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Henry Louis Gates Jr's reading list of African-American literature

here's a reading list of African-American literature from How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon (David Remnick, New Yorker, 2-19-22). Remnick asks, "If I were to ask you to recommend ten works of fiction and ten works of nonfiction to a citizen wanting to get a handle on the canon that you’ve worked so hard to refine and supplement, what would those works be?" Gates provided these three lists plus a wonderful quote:

1. “The Conjure Woman,” by Charles W. Chesnutt
2. “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,” by James Weldon Johnson
3. “Cane,” by Jean Toomer
4. “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston
5. “Native Son,” by Richard Wright
6. “Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison
7. “Mumbo Jumbo,” by Ishmael Reed
8. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
9. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison (or “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” or “Jazz”)
10. “At the Bottom of the River,” by Jamaica Kincaid

1. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself,” by Frederick Douglass
2. “A Voice from the South,” by Anna Julia Cooper
3. “The Souls of Black Folk,” by W. E. B. Du Bois
4. “Black Skin, White Masks,” by Frantz Fanon
5. “Notes of a Native Son,” by James Baldwin
6. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
7. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
8. “Angela Davis: An Autobiography,” by Angela Y. Davis
9. “Playing in the Dark,” by Toni Morrison
10. “In My Father’s House,” by Kwame Anthony Appiah

For reference:
1. “From Slavery to Freedom” (ninth edition or later), by John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
2. “The Betrayal of the Negro: From Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson,” by Rayford W. Logan
3. “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877,” by Eric Foner
4. “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” by Annette Gordon-Reed

In one of the most beautiful—of so many—passages that he wrote, W. E. B. DuBois captured the wonder of the Black experience in the New World. He said, 

      “The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution.”

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