Novels, in many ways, serve as historical sketches of black culture as authors re-envision a range of significant moments from the past. The mid-nineteenth century stands out as a recurring focal point for numerous writers with several novels set in the mid-1800s or with flashbacks to the Post-Civil War era
Authors who have published novels in the early 1900s such as Charles Chesnutt and Oscar Micheaux as well as those who published in the second half of the 20th century such as Ernest Gaines and Margaret Walker offer representations of black life during the mid to late 1800s. Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster (1976), Parable of the Sower (1993), and Parable of the Talents (1998), however, are the only novels out of our study’s 100 that depict the future.
[Related: Notable Findings Concerning 100 Black Novels]