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Melvin B. Tolson

Five Hidden Pearls of African-American Literature

in Non-Fiction by

As an African-American writer, I have long been a student of black writers from many different genres who have influenced, inspired, challenged, enlightened, and entertained me. We’ve all heard of the obvious ones: the speeches of Frederick Douglass, the poetry of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, just to name a few. But there’s a treasure trove of lesser-known works of African-American writing that have had a big impact on me and deserve to be read. Here’s my list of books that you might not know about. (I’ve chosen books in different categories in order to avoid having my special favorites competing in my head with every other…

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