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The Amen Corner: Black Classics

Invisible Man

By: Ralph Ellison
Narrated by: Joe Morton
Length: 18 hours 36 minutes

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of modern American Negro life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching--yet always with... Read more

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Native Son

By: Richard Wright
Narrated by: Peter Francis James
Length: 17 hours 44 minutes

One of The Atlantic’s Great American Novels“If one had to identify the single most influential shaping force in modern Black literary history, one would probably have to point to Wright and the publication of Native Son.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr.""The most powerful American novel to appear since The Grapes of Wrath."" The New YorkerWhen it was... Read more

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Kindred

By: Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Kim Staunton
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes

“This was my first time reading Octavia Butler. To say I was unprepared for the character study and journey she would take me on would be a great understatement. Dana, a black woman living in 1970s California mysteriously travels back in time (repeatedly) to the antebellum South and must find a way to stay put in her own time with as little... Read more

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Passing

By: Nella Larsen
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 4 hours 5 minutes

Nella Larsen’s fascinating exploration of race and identity—the inspiration for the Netflix film directed by Rebecca Hall, starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.Irene Redfield is a Black woman living an affluent, comfortable life with her husband and children in the thriving neighborhood of Harlem in the 1920s. When she reconnects with her... Read more

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The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

By: James Weldon Johnson
Narrated by: Bill Andrew Quinn
Length: 5 hours 2 minutes

James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man takes place in post Reconstruction era America and follows the story of a young biracial male. Johnson poses a complex dilemma: because the “Ex-Colored Man,” which is the only name by which the protagonist is referred, represents what, at the time was, a social contradiction of race... Read more

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Amiable with Big Teeth

A Novel of the Love Affair between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem

By: Claude McKay
Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
Length: 10 hours 41 minutes

The unexpected discovery in 2009 of a completed manuscript of Claude McKay’s final novel was celebrated as one of the most significant literary events in recent years. Building on the already extraordinary legacy of McKay’s life and work, this colorful, dramatic novel centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the... Read more

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The Souls of Black Folk

By: W. E. B. Du Bois
Narrated by: Mirron Willis
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," writes Du Bois, in one of the most prophetic works in all of American literature.First published in 1903, this collection of fifteen essays dared to describe the racism that prevailed at that time in America—and to demand an end to it. Du Bois' writing draws on his early... Read more

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Up from Slavery

By: Booker T. Washington
Narrated by: Noah Waterman
Length: 6 hours 8 minutes

Booker T. Washington fought his way out of slavery to become an educator, statesman, political shaper, and proponent of the “do it yourself” idea. In his autobiography, he describes his early life as a slave on a Virginia plantation, his steady rise during the Civil War, his struggle for education, his schooling at the Hampton Institute, and his... Read more

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By: Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute... Read more

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The Bluest Eye

By: Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

“READ BANNED BOOKS. In this modern classic, Toni Morrison tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young Black girl in post-Depression Ohio whose desire to have blue eyes, to be considered beautiful by society, eventually drives her to insanity. Morrison excellently conveys the damage done by white supremacist concepts of beauty in this moving and... Read more

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The Fire Next Time

By: James Baldwin
Narrated by: Jesse Martin
Length: 2 hours 25 minutes

NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The book that galvanized the nation, gave voice to the emerging civil rights movement in the 1960s—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today. - “The finest essay I’ve ever read.” —Ta-Nehisi CoatesAt once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the... Read more

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

By: Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Ruby Dee
Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

“This book is a masterpiece. Zora Neale Hurston explores stages in a woman’s life so powerfully. Ruby Dee’s audiobook narration is the best audiobook narration I’ve ever heard. She expresses so much emotion and personality. She brings the characters to life and she savors every perfectly chosen word of the text. Read more

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