Library Web Pages

Spring Hill College -- Thomas Byrne Library

How to Find Materials about
Black American Women Authors



American Women Fiction Writers, 1900-1960. H. Bloom, ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1997.  PS374.W6 A455 vol.1-3 REFERENCE

See sections on Hurston, Fauset, Larsen, and Petry.

Black Writers of America: A Comprehensive Anthology. R. Barksdale, ed. New York: Macmillan, 1972.  PS508.N3 B62 1972 REFERENCE

Contemporary Fiction Writers of the South: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. J. Flora, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. PS261.C565 1993 REFERENCE

Includes sections on Bambara and Walker. Also see Contemporary Southern Women Writers: An Annotated Bibliography for additional sources on these 2 authors.

Contemporary Poets, Dramatists, Essayists, and Novelists of the South: a Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. R. Bain, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.  PS261.C568 1994 REFERENCE

Contains useful chapter on M. Angelou.

Fairbanks, Carol. Black American Fiction: A Bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978.  PS153.N5 F3 REFDESK

Nineteenth-century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. D. Knight, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997. PS217.W64 N56 1997 REFERENCE

See especially section on Harriet Wilson.

Shockley, Ann. Living Black American Authors: A Biographical Directory. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1973. PS153.N5 S5 REFERENCE

Yellin, Jean. The Pen is Ours: A Listing of Writings by and about African-American Women before 1910 with Secondary Bibliography to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. PS153.N5 Y44 1991 REFDESK

Good for an overview on the 19th century roots of black women authors with information on Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Wilson, Anna J. Cooper, and Frances Harper. There is a useful "Foreword" and also a 2nd copy in the stacks which can be checked out.


American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present. L. Faust, ed. New York: Ungar, 1988. PS147.A42 1988 REFERENCE

Brief bio/critical sections on only the major authors Black Literature Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the most Significant Works of Black Authors over the Past 200 Years. J. Draper, ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.  PS153.N5 B556 1992 vol.1-3 REFERENCE

Other major reference series such as Short Story Criticism, Contemporary Authors, Masterplots II, American Writers, 20th Century Literary Criticism, etc. should also be helpful. .

Black Women’s History: Theory and Practice. D. Hine, ed. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Pub., 1990.  E185.86.B543 1990 vol.9-10 REFERENCE

Part of the multi-volume set, Black Women in United States History – containing numerous essays. See contents and indexes.

The Bloomsbury Guide to Women’s Literature. C. Buck, ed. New York: Prentice Hall, 1992.  PN471.B57 1992 REFERENCE

See pages 119-141 for a good historical overview of women writing.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. J. Salzman, ed. New York: Macmillan, 1996.  E185.E54 1996 vol.1-5 REFERENCE

See vol. 2, pages 681-697 for broad survey on black feminist and literary criticism.

Great Women Writers: The Lives and Works of 135 of the World’s Most Important Women Writers, from Antiquity to the Present. F. Magill, ed. New York: Holt, 1994. PN471.G74 1994 REFERENCE

Useful essays on major contributors from Wheatley to Angelou.

Masterpieces of African-American Literature. F. Magill, ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.  PS153.N5 M264 1992 REFERENCE

Short, signed essays on 149 works of literature arranged alphabetically by title.

Modern Black Writers. M. Popkin, ed. New York: Ungar, 1978. PN841.M58 REFERENCE

See sections on Brooks, Hurston, and Walker.

The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. W. Andrews, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. PS153.N5 O96 1997 REFERENCE

The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States. C. Davidson, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. PS147.O94 1995 REFERENCE

Rodgers, Marie E. The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Reference Guide for Student Research. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. NX512.3.A35 R62 1998 REFERENCE

See part III – Literature and Writing (has a good bibliography)


Chapman, Dorothy Hilton. Index to Black Poetry. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1974. PN1025.C5 REFERENCE

MLA International Bibliography. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1921-  PB6.M62 INDEX

Find this also at the Computer workstations. An aid to searching this database can be found at the bibliography display, or online, in the English Language and Literature folder.

Yancey, Preston M. The Afro-American Short Story: A Comprehensive, Annotated Index with Selected Commentaries. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986. PS153.N5 Y36 1986 REFERENCE


All of the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us are Brave: Black Women’s Studies.

G. T. Hull, ed. Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1982. E185.86 .A4 1982

See especially the chapters in Section 5 - "Necessary Bread": Black Women’s Literature and Section 6 - Bibliographies and Bibliographic Essays.

Baker, Houston A. Workings of the Spirit: The Poetics of Afro-American Women’s Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. PS153.N5 B28 1991 STACKS

Christian, Barbara. Black Feminist Criticism: perspectives on Black Women Writers. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985. PS153.N5 C47 1985 STACKS

Chupa, Anna Maria. Anne, the White Woman in Contemporary African-American Fiction: Archetypes, Stereotypes, and Characterizations. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.  PS374.W45 C48 1990 STACKS

Extensive discussion on works of Bambara, Morrison, and Walker. Connor, K. Conversions and Visions in the Writings of African-American Women. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994.  PS153.N5 C64 1994 STACKS

Useful study of the collaboration between religion and literature among black women writers.

De Weever, J. Mythmaking and Metaphor in Black Women’s Fiction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. PS374.N4 D4 1992 STACKS

Examines 17 novels and some short stories (including Song of Solomon) of 7 black American women writers—Walker, Naylor, Brooks, Morrison, Shange, and Bambara.

Griffin, Farah J. "Who Set You Flowin’?": The African-American Migration Narrative. New York: Oxford University press, 1995. PS374 .N4 G75 1995 STACKS

Focuses on the migration theme. See passages on Song of Solomon and Jazz. Interesting bibliography included.

Harris, Trudier. The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller’s Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996. PS374.N4 H35 1996 STACKS

Focuses on Hurston’s Mules and Men and Naylor’s Mama Day.

Hernton, Calvin C. The Sexual Mountain and Black Women Writers: Adventures in Sex, Literature, and Real Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1990. PS153.N5 H47 1990 STACKS

Language and Literature in the African American Imagination. C. Blackshire-Belay, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992. PS153.N5 L36 1992 STACKS

McDowell, D. "The Changing Same": Black Women’s Literature, Criticism, and Theory. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1995. PS374.N4 1995 STACKS

Reading Black, Reading Feminist: A Critical Anthology. H. Gates, Jr., ed. New York: Meridian Book, 1990. PS153.N5 R38 1990 STACKS

Very useful book of literary essays exploring the work of important writers.

Showalter, Elaine. Sister’s Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women’s Writing. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1991. PS147.S48 1991 STACKS

Includes discussion on Hurston and Walker.

Stout, J. Through the Window, Out the Door: Women’s Narratives of Departure, from Austin and Cather to Tyler, Morrison and Didion. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998. PS374.W6 S78 1998 ON ORDER


Ammons, Elizabeth. Conflicting Stories: American Women Writers at the Turn in to the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. PS374.W6 A48 1992 STACKS

Discusses the need to "understand the relationship between the literary past of women of color and that of the white woman." See index headings: African American Women Writers, individual author names, and the chapter on N. Larsen.

Foster, Frances Smith. Written by herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1993. PS153.N5 F68 1993 STACKS

Good historical treatment – see especially index topics "African American Women’s Literature" and "African American Women Writers" besides specific authors.

Jackson, B. A History of Afro-American Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989. PS153.N5 J33 1989 STACKS

See "The First Poets" for discussion of Phillis Wheatley. Also see chapters discussing Frances Harper and Harriet Wilson.


Black Writers Interpret the Harlem Renaissance. C. Wintz, ed. New York: Garland Press, 1996. PS153.N5 H24 1996 STACKS

Includes examples of literary magazines of the time, literary columns by Gwendolyn Bennett and an autobiographical account by Hurston.

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University press, 1995. PS153.N5 W33 1995 STACKS

See chapters on Fauset, Hurston, and Larsen.


American Women Short Story Writers: A Collection of Critical Essays. J. Brown, ed. New York: Garland Pub., 1995. PS374.S5 A3968 1995 STACKS

See essay titled "A Revolutionary Tale": In Search of African American Women’s Short Story Writing. See also "Society and Self in Alice Walker’s In Love and Trouble" (her first collection of short stories).

Black Fiction: New Studies in the Afro-American Novel Since 1945. R. Lee, ed. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1980. PS374.N4 B58 STACKS

See essay "Landscapes of Reality: The Fiction of Contemporary Afro-American Women" for criticism on Hurston, Brooks’ Maud Martha, Larsen’s Quicksand, Walker, Morrison and Jones’ Corregidora.

Carby, H. Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist. New York: Oxford University Press , 1989. PS153.N5 C37 1989 STACKS

A cultural history of the work of 19th century black women writers with analyses of the writing of Jacobs, Harper, Cooper, Larsen, etc.

Cooper, Anna J. A Voice from the South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. E185.86 C587 1988 STACKS

The first book of essays published by a back woman author and considered the founding text of the black feminist movement. See the introduction by Mary Helen Washington.

Ostriker, Alicia. Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Woman’s Poetry in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986. PS147.O8 1986 STACKS

See index topic "Black and Third World Women’s Poetry".

The Private Self: Theory and Practice of Women’s Autobiographical Writings. S. Benstock, ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. PR756.A9 P75 1988 STACKS

See "My Statue, My Self: Autobiographical Writings of African American Women".

Shimmy, Shimmy, Shimmy Like my sister Kate: Looking at the Harlem Renaissance through Poems.  Nikki Giovanni, ed. New York: H. Holt, 1996. PS591.N4 S55 1996 STACKS

Interesting book of poetry that includes some discussion and reflection on the poems. See Brooks, Sanchez, Shange, Johnson and Margaret Walker.


ONLINE LIBRARY CATALOG - Sample Subject Headings

Afro-American aesthetics
Afro-American women—History
Afro-American women—History—19th century—Bibliography
Afro-American women in literature—Bibliography
Afro-American women—Social conditions
Afro-Americans—Intellectual life
Afro-Americans—Southern States--Folklore
Afro-American in literature
American fiction—Women authors—History and criticism
American literature—African influences
American literature—Afro-American authors
American literature—Afro-American authors—History and criticism
American literature—Afro-American authors—Stories, plots, etc.
Blacks—Intellectual life
Blacks in literature
English literature—Black authors—History and criticism
Feminism and literature—United States
Harlem Renaissance
Literature and folklore—Southern States
Migration, Internal, in literature
Myth in literature
Narration (Rhetoric)
Oral tradition—Southern States
Poetry—Black authors—History and criticism
Religion and literature
Sex role in literature
Short stories, American—Afro-American authors—History and criticism
Women and literature—United States--history
Women, Black, in literature

SEE ALSO (paper copy at bibliography display and online)

How to Find Literary Criticism Using the Library Catalog

How to Find Literary Criticism in Expanded Academic Index

Voices from the Gaps: Women Writers of Color—very useful site from University of Minnesota that can be searched by author.

Alice Walker web page with biographical information and links to a bibliography.

Links to the Black Studies Library at Ohio State University.

Content Contact:  Phyllis Compretta
Content revised:  6/30/1999

Web Page Contact

Revised: 09/14/01