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Lang&Lit: EH303 & 304 -- Survey of Black Literature; EH442G -- Black Writers in America: Subject Headings

This Library Guide directs you to sources for information on African American writers from colonial times to the present. The resources presented are selected and representative, not comprehensive, and are intended to provide a sampler of all the informa

Page Overview

This page lists the call number ranges for materials by or about writers considered to be within the Black Literature canon and on Black Literature in general, as well as suggestions on how to find and identify more obscure subject headings for Black American writers.

Individual Author Call Number Ranges

Phillis Wheatley   PS866.W5

Charles Waddell Chesnutt   PS1292.C6

Paul Laurence Dunbar   PS1556-1557

Langston Hughes   PS3515.U274

Maya Angelou   PS3551.N464

Toni Morrison  PS3563.O8749

Alice Walker   PS3573.A425

August Wilson   PS3573.I45677

Books that are entirely, cover-to-cover, by or about a Black American author may be located by performing either an author or subject search in the library's catalog, using as search terms the author's name (in last-name first order). 

Library of Congress Classifications and Subject Headings

Subject headings for Black Literature can be found in the 30th edition (2007) of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, the five-volume set of large red books located on the green cabinet beneath Shakespeare's portrait on the library's seventh floor.  Use the heading American Literature -- African-American authors (volume I page 241).  For a shelf-browsing, call number approach, use the 2008 edition of the Library of Congress Classification for PR, PS, and PZ, located adjacent to the Library of Congress Subject Headings on the green cabinet.  The classification for the entire class P of language and literature can be found here:

http://www.loc.gov/aba/cataloging/classification/lcco/lcco_p.pdf

Books that are entirely, cover-to-cover, by or about a Black American author may be located by performing either an author or subject search in the library's catalog, using as search terms the author's name (in last-name first order).  For African-American authors as a group, some useful subject headings are:

African-American authors (History and Criticism) PS153.N5

African-American authors (Collections) PS508.N3

Books on African-Americans in general (not limited just to authors) can be found on the library's third floor in the call number range beginning E185.  All of these call number ranges are for circulating books that can be checked out from the library, but each range has a complementary group of books in the reference sections on the library's third and seventh floors.