Now this is an author I actually have had a chance to read. And boy oh boy, it was a doozy! Not for the faint at heart, lemme tell ya.
Morrison was the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. The theme of her novels usually focus on black women facing unjust circumstances (like I said, not light reading). And she's written some really famous ones, including: The Bluest Eye, Sula, Beloved (the one I've read), Tar Baby, Jazz and Love.
Most of you will probably know her name from her ultra-famous novel, The Color Purple, that was adapted in the ultra-famous movie of the same name. Unfortunately I have yet to read this one but it's on my TBR. For that novel Walker won a Pulitzer Prize. She was also the one that worked to uncover the basically lost work of another famous African-American female author: Zora Neale Hurston. And she's a great advocate in the fight against female circumcision.
Known around the world for one of the most famous works ever: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she has been called "America's most visible female black autobiographer." She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her work and has tons of poetry and other works since. Huge in the Civil Rights Movement she has also been friends/colleagues with basically every poltician since the 70s.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. She was a poet way back before America even declared independence from the British. Well, WHILE they were in the middle of declaring independence more like. She was actually the first African-American woman who had her stuff published. George Washington was a fan! Not surprisingly for the times, a lot of her stuff revolved around religious themes. She gained fame with a collection of work called Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. But most didn't at first believe that a slave could possess the literary skills to write poetry and she had to prove that the poems were, in fact, her own works.
An African-American female science-fiction writer! Oh my! No seriously, it's true. I have one of her books on my TBR too and I can't wait to buy and it start reading: Kindred. It's about black woman that is transported back to the days of slavery, specifically the early 19th century. Though she technically cateogized this particular novel of hers as not as a sci-fi, it kind of sounds like a mix between that and regular literature. Intriguing! Butler was also the first sci-fi writer to win the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.
So there you have it. Enjoy the rest of your Black History Month. Go out and learn something!