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Audre Lorde’s ‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You’

Bridget Minamore The White Review
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was one of the most significant U.S. writers of the last quarter of the 20th Century. She described herself as "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet." This new collection of her poetry and prose allows readers to remind themselves of her thought and its significance.

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The Black Novelist History Forgot

Robert B. Stepto  Washington Post
Himes was a pivotal and versatile post WW II-era American novelist whose work influenced several generations of African American and other writers. A new biography of the novelist is drawing national attention.

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If He Hollers, Let Him Be; He's Chester B. Himes

Charles R. Larson CounterPunch
A hard look at African-American author Chester Himes, whose literary fame and financial success later in life hardly made up for the oppressive racial travails that preceded it and forced him to live much of that life abroad.

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Claude McKay's Long-Lost Novel Brings the Harlem Renaissance to Life

Ross Barkan The Village Voice
Claude McKay (1889-1948) was a Jamaican-born poet and novelist who became one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s upsurge of black culture that was a central feature of the jazz age. He was also a leading left wing intellectual of the era. This newly discovered novel is a literary and cultural milestone.

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Roxane Gay’s Masterpieces of Private Rage

Rafia Zakaria The New Republic
Rafia Zakaria shows us how Roxane Gay, in this new collection of short stories, explores interconnections between racism, work, love, violence, and sex.

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Frederick Douglass's `Amazing Job' Started With His First Book

Ron Charles Washington Post
Forget that Donald Trump said something commendable about Frederick Douglass--perhaps a first for Trump--the autobiography of Douglass is a classic, and reading it again is a fit way to commemorate Black History Month. Washington Post book editor Ron Charles gives ample reason why.

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The Sellout

Reni Eddo-Lodge The Guardian
This novel by Paul Beatty won England's Man Booker Prize last month. He is the first American writer to ever win the award. Here is a review of the book.

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Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment

Marilyn Richardson Women's Review of Books, May-June 2016
Two startlingly realistic books by black female authors offering rich, contrasting and brilliantly wrought views of racial conditions for affluent and impoverished African Americans.

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Michael S. Harper (1938-2016), Acclaimed African American Poet

Poetry Foundation
Michael S. Harper, who died on Saturday in Rhinebeck, N.Y. at the age of 78, was a major American and African American poet. He was a writer of complex poems that combined history and memory with a deep network of African American cultural, folkloric, and musical allusions and symbols. This brief biography of Harper is from the Poetry Foundation's website. A generous selection of Harper's work can be found on the Foundation's website.

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Rebirth of Venus

Dan Chiasson The New Yorker
The Voyage of the Sable Venus, the highly regarded debut poetry collection by Robin Coste Lewis, won the national book award this year for poetry. The title poem unites art history with the history of slavery and racism. Here, Dan Chiasson introduces this book, which has become a must-read across the literary spectrum.
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