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March 16 Black Literary Suite Report

[By Kenton Rambsy]
On March 16, the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) held its first showing of selections from the “100 Novels Project.”
The 100 Novels Project explores and celebrates the political, social, cultural and historical significance of 100 works of black literature. The temporal scope of the works is wide ranging, spanning from the late 19th century to the 21st century. Many of the works have been transformed into film and were staples on the New York Times bestseller list.
The Black Literary Suite is a three-part series of exhibits that utilizes quantitative research in order to enhance understandings of black literary history. The exhibits, an extension of the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW), feature 100 African American novels from HBW’s collection.
Over eight dozen factors related to publication dates, publisher regions, author information, settings, and protagonist demographics were gathered and correlated as a way of identifying notable trends in the publishing history of black novels. The main goals of this project are to shed new light on the holdings in HBW’s novel collection and stimulate more conversations about what we can learn by studying a large number of black artistic compositions produced over 150 years.