The following list of influential authors represents some of the most distinguished voices in the African-American community. All of these people have contributed distinctly to the literary canon of the Black community. So without further ado, here are a few of our favorite Black authors.
Most Influential Black Authors
1. Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
This distinguished civil rights activist, folklorist, and anthropologist was one of the leading African-American authors. She is remembered for her second novel offering called ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ that was published in 1937. Hurston also traveled a lot to carry out her anthropological researches, and you should definitely read her findings.
2. Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Another very prominent social activist, Hughes not only wrote great novels, but he also gifted us with fine poetry and short plays. Most of his work had been dedicated to the sufferings of his people and the causes of the Black community. This distinguished Black author was also the man who introduced the world to what is known as ‘Jazz Poetry.’ What’s more? Hughes’ first novel known as ‘Not Without Laughter’ had actually brought him the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature.
3. Richard Wright (1908-1960)
Wright was the author who introduced the world to the much-loved series known as ‘Uncle Tom’s Children’. Due to this and a lot of his works, Wright is remembered for being fearless and helping his readers realize the struggles of the Black community in heavily racist societies. Two of the most controversial masterpieces he came up with were called Black Boy (1945) and Native Son (1940).
4. Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
Yet another civil rights activist, Maya Angelou was also a renowned poet and author. Angelou made her mark in literature with her book called ‘I know Why the Caged Bird Sings.’ This book was one of the earliest best selling non-fiction novels by an African-American writer. Even though she was recognized for this particular book, many people believe that her masterwork was her book called ‘On the Pulse of Morning’.
So there you have it, folks. These authors should be enough to have you hooked for a couple of months. If you have thirst for more, you should look up the works of Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Ralph Ellison and Octavia Butler. Get ready to be inspired!