Monthly Archives: February 2016

Shades of Black edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland


Can a 1940s train porter solve a mystery before an innocent man is killed? Can a federal agent unravel a five year old cold case? African-American law enforcement personnel, PIs, and ordinary people solve mysteries in Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.

The stories are gritty and offer plenty of food for thought. Themes include family, poverty, racism’s affect on justice, and tragedies that encourage crime. The stories take place in the unglamorous parts of cities. Shades of Black offers an anthology of African-American writers and an anthology of mystery/crime fiction.

Want more books like Shades of Black?

Check out another mystery and crime anthology by African-American Writers by reading Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Fiction by African-American Writers edited by Otto Penzler.

 Check out other mystery anthologies such as The Ethnic Detectives: Masterpieces of Mystery Fiction edited by Bill Pronzini. 

Check out other anthologies written by African-American authors such as Best African American Fiction: 2009 edited by Gerald Early. (If you have access to Novelist you can find authors from a particular culture by clicking “advanced search” and then choosing one or multiple categories from the “cultural identity” drop down menu.)


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Abraham’s Well by Sharon Ewell Foster


Armentia is a black Cherokee slave who walks the Trail of Tears. The journey and trials afterwards could break her spirit. If she dares to hope will it ever be fulfilled?

Armentia is honest about her imperfections and struggles in the face of horrific events. Bravery often ends tragically, hope can seem futile, and when to not settle is hard to choose. Her fictional voice ponders why people enact, endure, and allow horrors like the Trail and slavery. She also wonders how God fits in and if He can be trusted as a source of strength. Abraham’s Well portrays African American slaves living with Native Americans and is also Christian Historical Fiction. 

Want more books like Abraham’s Well?

Delia must choose between the life she knows and risking freedom with the man she loves in A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin.

Slave Cow Tom founds a family tied to the Creek tribe before and after the tribe’s removal to Oklahoma in Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy.

Interested in learning more about African Americans who were also Native Americans? Check out books like Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage by William Loren Katz.

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The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

Lila Mae Watson is the first female black elevator inspector in a nameless metropolis. Her life is endangered when an accident pulls her into murky politics. What will she do when she learns startling truths?

The Intutionist is a story where everything provokes questions. There are hints about the city’s name and time period. Elevators have a symbolic importance that calls into question progress -especially in seeking equality- and what reality is. Lila Mae’s life is an unsettling look at integration. The Intuitionist offers a story filled with food for thought about racial equality and other aspects of life.

Want more books like The Intuitionist?

Gabriel Lynch’s impetuous choice to become a cowboy brings him into contact with moral questions, racial issues, and the West in Gabriel’s Story by David Anthony Durham.

Not Sidney Poitier endures miscommunication, racism, and unexpected wealth in I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett.

A nameless African American is invisible to the world in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.


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