10 Dates of Importance, 1852 – 1912

[By Kenton Rambsy]

1852The Heroic Slave,
a novella by Frederick Douglass, is published in 1852 by John P. Jewett and
Company. The novella resembles a slave narrative even though it is a work of
1853– William Wells Brown—escaped slave from
Kentucky—publishes Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter in London. His novel is considered the first to ever
be published by an African American.

1859– On September 5, 1859 Harriet Wilson’s novel, Our Nig, was published anonymously by
George C. Rand and Avery, a publishing firm in Boston. Wilson is considered the
first African American to publish a novel within the continental United States.
1859– As a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, abolitionist Martin Delany began publishing Blake: Or The Huts of America in a serialized form.  This was the first novel by a black man to be
published in the United States. 
1898The Uncalled,
Paul Laurence Dunbar’s first novel, is published by Dodd, Meed, and Company.
1900– Charles Chesnutt’s The
House Behind the Cedars
is published by Boston publishing house, Houghton
Mifflin Company. His novel expands the thematic representations of race,
miscegenation, and passing of his earlier short story collections.
1901– Paul Laurence Dunbar’s second novel The Fanatics is published by New York publishing
house Mead, Dodd and Company.
1901-1902–  Sutton E.
Griggs founds Orion Publishing Company in Nashville, Tennessee and publishes
two self-authored novels back-to-back—Overshadowed
(1901) and Unfettered (1902).
1903–  Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois is
published by A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago. His collection of essays and
concept “double consciousness” would influence the work of many African
American novelists.
1912– James Weldon Johnson publishes The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man anonymously through small
New York publisher Sherman, French, and Company.