Toni Cade Bambara

[By Kenton Rambsy]

Rounding out the “30 Days of 100 Novels” series, I end by focusing on Toni Cade Bambara. Her short stories, often times, overshadow her work as a novelist. Her novel, The Salt Eaters, is included in the “100 Novels Project.”
Actually, Bambara’s thematic content in her novels and short stories share many commonalities. As a Black Arts Writer, Bambara came of age during a time where African American writers were determined to define black art by its own merits and away from Eurocentric standards. As a leading female voice during the movement, Bambara placed a special emphasis in her writing on black females—both girls and women.

In the introduction to The Black Woman: An Anthology, Bambara, notes that what characterizes the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s was not the “impulse to entertain, or to indulge or enlighten the conscience of the enemy; white people, whiteness, or racism: men, maleness, or chauvinism: America or imperialism” but instead black women’s “energies now seem to be invested in and are in turn derived from a determination to touch and to unify.”
Bambara’s short stories and novels examined the psyche of black female characters and brought their concerns to the forefront of literature through her fictive representations. Even though she is better known as a short story writer, her novels overlap in providing varied thematic visions of black women.
Below are a list of her publications:
The Black Woman: An Anthology. 1970 (Editor)
Tales and Stories for Black Folks. 1971 (Editor)
Short Story Collections
Gorilla, My Love. 1972
The Sea Birds Are Still Alive: Collected Stories. 1977
Those Bones Are Not My Child. 1999 (novel)
The Salt Eaters. 1980 (novel)