Black American Short Stories: One Hundred Years of the Best



Black American Short Stories: One Hundred Years of the Best

This edition

"Black American Short Stories: One Hundred Years of the Best" . Ed. John Henrik Clarke. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993. xxi+421 pp. (Also issued as "Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best".)

Other editions, reprints, and translations

• A revised and expanded edition of Clarke's "American Negro Short Stories" (1966)

Table of contents

The lynching of Jube Benson / Paul Laurence Dunbar -- On being crazy / W.E.B. Du Bois -- The goophered grapevine / Charles Waddell Chesnutt -- The city of refuge / Rudolph Fisher -- The overcoat / John P. Davis -- Truant / Claude McKay -- A summer tragedy / Arna Bontemps -- The gilded six-bits / Zora Neale Hurston -- Bright and morning star / Richard Wright -- The boy who painted Christ black / John Henrik Clarke -- On friday morning / Langston Hughes -- So peaceful in the country / Carl Ruthven Offord -- And/or / Sterling Brown -- Fighter / John Caswell Smith -- The homecoming / Frank Yerby -- How John Boscoe outsung the devil / Arthur P. Davis -- Solo on the drums / Ann Petry -- Mama's missionary money / Chester Himes -- See how they run / Mary Elizabeth Vroman -- Exodus / James Baldwin -- God bless America / John O. Killens -- Train whistle guitar / Albert Murray -- The senegalese / Hoyt W. Fuller -- A matter of time / Frank London Brown -- Cry for me / William Melvin Kelley -- Reena / Paule Marshall -- The convert / Lerone Bennett, Jr. -- The winds of change / Loyle Hairston -- The screamers / LeRoi Jones -- Sarah / Martin J. Hamer -- The sky is gray / Ernest J. Gaines -- On trains / James Allen McPherson -- Marigolds / Eugenia W. Collier -- Steady going up / Maya Angelou -- Everyday use / Alice Walker -- The organizer's wife / Toni Cade Bambara -- Jesse / Rosemarie Robotham -- The wife / Jennifer Jordan.

Reviews and notices of anthology

• Early, Gerald. "Old and New: African-American Short Stories Anthologized." Rev. of "Calling the Wind: Twentieth-Century African-American Short Stories", ed. Clarence Major and of "Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best", ed. John Henrik Clarke. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" (28 Feb. 1993): C5. "Proquest Databases". "Both books present their works in chronological order and, although some authors are represented in both, there is, except for Charles Chesnutt's "The Goophered Grapevine," Zora Neale Hurston's "The Gilded Six Bits" and Richard Wright's "Bright and Morning Star," virtually no overlap. Major, himself a noted fiction writer for the last 20 or so years, includes a greater number of younger, contemporary writers such as Terry McMillan, Richard Perry, Trey Ellis, Reginald McKnight, Gloria Naylor and Jamaica Kincaid. Unquestionably, Major's is the more comprehensive and will probably be the standard text for black shorts stories for the next several years. But the Clarke volume does contain stories of importance and interest and can serve as a supplement to Major's.
"Fortunately, both volumes avoid reprinting the overly anthologized, such as James MacPherson's "Solo Song: For Doc," James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" or Toni Cade Bambara's "My Man Bovanne." On the other hand, the omission of Ted Posten's "The Revenge of the Evil Fairies" or Richard Wright's "The Man Who Lived Underground" seems cause for some complaint. And what about Alice Childress, Margaret Walker, Kristin Hunter and Ronald Fair?
"Both introductions are serviceable. Major's is the farm more theoretically and intellectually rendered, although Clarke, longtime editor of the well-regarded, epochal but now defunct Freedomways and now an avowed Afrocentric, seems intent on reminding his black readers on every possible occasion of the fairly indelible if mundane fact that they did, indeed, once hail from Africa. But this fact alone has little to do with the complex development of African-American literature in English, under Christian influence, in a democratic, capitalist, industrialized culture.
"While neither book is of the seminal stature of the LeRoi Jones/Larry Neal collection "Black Fire, or the Negro Caravan," edited by Sterling Brown, Arthur P. Davis and Ulysses Lee, they are both worthy additions to the libraries of anyone interested in African-American literature, especially the Major anthology."

Cited in

Kinnamon 1997: 472]

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