Sacred Fire1

Sacred Fire: How Many Have Warmed Your Soul?
Your Essential Books:

It has been 12 years since we first published Sacred Fire. A lot has happened in black publishing since. Erotica has been fully expressed; Urban Fiction has held strong to the market; and, still, great writing, regardless of its 'come from' has managed to break surface. We would ask for your help in updating our essential books. Please forward your list, or single title, to us at We will publish them in QBR and post them on our website. Please include your name and physical address, including zip code. Here they are listed, not in sequential order of importance but grouped in spirit, intention, and passion. May their spirit move and shape you, as they have me.

Max Rodriguez, Editor, Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books

     Origins, Ancestors, and Memory

1.          The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Yassa, the African,
                Written by Himself
by Olaudah   Equiano

2.         The Narrative of the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by
by Frederick Douglass

3.         Clotel: or, the President's Daughter, A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States
                by William Wells Brown

4.         Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-Story White House, North
                by Harriet K Wilson 

5.         Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington      

6.         Black Reconstruction in America by W. E. B. Du Bois               

7.         From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin                 

8.         Stolen Legacy by George G. M. James                

9.         Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, Jr.                

10.       Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah     

11         They Came Before Columbus by Ivan Van Sertima      

12.       Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley             

13.       Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase-Riboud          

14.       The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley    

15.        Beloved by Toni Morrison         

16.        Kindred by Octavia Butler          

17.        Spirits of the Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Seventeenth Century
                by Madeline Burnside and Rosemarie Robotham            

            Community and Identity

18.        Lyrics of Lowly Life by Paul Laurence Dunbar                

19.        The Conjure Woman by Charles Chestnutt       

20.       The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois      

21.        Cane by Jean Toomer   

22.       The New Negro by Alain Locke               

23.       The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman      

24.       The Mis-education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson              

25.       The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes               

26.       Black Boy by Richard Wright   

27.       Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City
               by St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton   

28.       Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison               

29.       Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin                

30.       Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe    

31.        A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry       

32.       Blues People: Negro Music in White America by LeRoi Jones  

33.       Jubilee by Margaret Walker

34.       Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon

35.       The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual by Harold Cruse

36.       We a BaddDDD People by Sonia Sanchez

37.       The Hero and the Blues by Albert Murray

38.       Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

39.       Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson

40.       Damballah by John Edgar Wideman

41.        A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African American Athlete by Arthur Ashe

42.       Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

            Politics, Nationalism, and Revolution

43.       David Walker’s Appeal by David Walker

44.       The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey or Africa for the Africans by Marcus Garvey

45.       Black Bourgeoisie by E. Franklin Frazier

46.       The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

47.       The Black Jacobins by C. L. R. James

48.       The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

49        Africa Must Unite by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

50.       The River Between by Ngugi Wa Thiongo

51.        Black Power by Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton

52.       Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

53.       Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson by George Jackson

54.       Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party by Bobby Seale

55.       The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams

56.       The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee

57.       Notes of a Hanging Judge by Stanley Crouch

58.       Race Matters by Cornel West

59.       God’s Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane

            Soul and Spirit

60.      Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman            

61.       Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.         

62.      A Black Theology of Liberation by James H. Cone        

63.      Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed            

64.      Faith and the Good Thing by Charles Johnson                

65.      The Famished Road by Ben Okri             

66.      Tapping the Power Within by Iyanla Vanzant                 

67.      Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans
             by James Melvin Washington      

68.      Guide My Feet: Prayers and Meditation on Loving and Working for Children
             by Marian Wright Edelman  

69.      My Soul Is a Witness: African American Women’s Spirituality, edited by Gloria Wade-Gayles   

70.      The Substance of Things Hoped For: A Memoir of African American Faith
             by Samuel DeWitt Proctor

           Sisters' Stories

71.      Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston             

72.     The Street by Ann Petry               

73.      Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks

74.     Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks   

75.      I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou   

76.     The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines     

77.      for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange                 

78.     Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman by Michele Wallace                  

79.     The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor             

80.     The Color Purple by Alice Walker           

81.      Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall                  

82.     Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde                

83.     Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan                  

84.     Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell                  

85.     Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta      

86.     The Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby      

87.     Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol by Nell Irvin Painter             

          Brothers' Lives

88.     Native Son by Richard Wright                 

89.     If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes     

90.     The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley              

91.      Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown         

92.     Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman             

93.     Fences by August Wilson            

94.     The Man Who Cried I Am by John Alfred Williams       

95      The Life of Langston Hughes by Arnold Rampersad     

96.     Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe

97.     A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines           

98.     W.E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race by David Levering Lewis           

99.     Black Betty by Walter Mosley                 

100.   Brotherman, edited by Herb Boyd and Robert Allen

Sacred Fire1"QBR's evolving canon is a splendid way to begin honoring black artists." --Charles Johnson, from the Foreword.

"From critiques of W. E. B. Du Bois's Black Reconstruction in America to Alex Haley's Roots to Langston Hughes's The Ways of White Folks, these short, trenchant essays stimulate and challenge."--Booklist.

"A celebration of black literature . insightful commentary."--Ebony.

"A rich and surprising assortment."--American Legacy.

"Delving into a book is an entertaining and edifying way to celebrate and reflect on the rich tapestry of African American history. A great way to start is with Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books.' --Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

          Capturing the full sweep of writing from the diaspora--from Africa tc the Caribbean to America--Sacred Fire is a soul-stirring collection of provocative analysis on 100 works of literature that have shaped and defined black culture for over 200 years.

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