Authors of color from each US state – will you help me fill in the gaps?

12 thoughts on “Authors of color from each US state – will you help me fill in the gaps?”

  1. Novelist, Ann Petry from CT: The Street, Country Place and more novels; Melvin B. Tolson, born in MO, died in TX, poetry, A Gallery of Harlem Poets; Also poet, Nikki Giovanni was born & attended college in TN. She currently teaches at Virginia Tech and might be good resource fot more names to fill out your list. From OK, Ralph Ellison Invisible Man. These writers are all African-American. Good luck! This is a great challenge you set for yourself.


    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the Ann Petry recommendation! Her personal story of growing up black in a small New England town is compelling enough, and then after I looked at her titles I can’t wait to read her work, especially Tituba of Salem Village, a children’s book about a fortune teller during the Salem witch trials. That’s my kind of book!


  2. I’m excited for you to embark on this challenge! You have inspired me to round out my American literature reading!

    Okay I have come up with just a couple more:

    Mitchell S Jackson: The Residue years (Oregon)

    Dorothy West: The Living is easy (wrote a series of Short stories – some of which are set in Martha’s vineyard, Massachusetts)

    Speaking of Martha’s Vineyard, there are a number of nonfiction texts about blacks on the Vineyard (“African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard” and there are brief blurbs about this and the history of upper/upper middle class African Americans in “Our Kind of People”…quite an interesting read by the way if you really want to get into the nuances of black culture in America)

    Nikki Giovanni: A poet (if that counts) from Tennessee. I believe she wrote a poem titled after her home town – Knoxville

    Ann Petr5: “The Street” and “The Narrows” (CT)

    I’m going to have to dig deep for some of these other states…stay tuned…ill be back!


  3. Sandra Cisneros is technically from Chicago (where ‘the house on mango street’ is set, as I recall) but she’s lived in Texas for years. I’m ashamed of myself that I can’t do better than that for my home state… we’ll see if someone else comes to mind. Meantime, I’m delighted by your list so far, and plan to borrow from it! After you read ‘Native Son,’ find James Baldwin’s essay ‘Notes of a Native Son’ – the two had an interesting relationship, and the works make a fascinating pair.


    1. Ooh!! I love the sound of House on Mango Street – I’m adding that to my list for Illinois. Looking through her titles it looks like some could be set in Texas, too. I’m going to check after I eat my lunch.


  4. Oh and…

    Ben Carson:Gifted Hands…an autobiography but the childhood portion takes place in Detroit (Michigan)

    Lorraine Hansberry: A Raisin in the Sun (Illinois…you already have the state covered but thought this one may also be good as not many plays are listed)


  5. Andrea,

    Erdrich is naturally a favorite in Minnesota, so beautiful and lyrical. Try also Kao Kalia Yang’s Latehomecomer. Beautiful memoir that takes you from the mountains of Laos, the refuge camps of Thailand and new homes in Minnesota. I heard the author speak once. She said that in Minnesota she is called a Hmong writer, and in the greater U.S. she is called a Minnesota writer, and abroad she is called an American writer. Fascinating distinctions I think.

    Happy reading.


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