List of Books by, or About, People African Descent to Win Pulitzer Prizes (includes Finalists)

Pulitzer Prize Medal

Since 1917 the Pulitzer Prize has honored excellence in journalism and the arts. The first award was presented in 1918. The Prize recognizes American authors in six “Letters and Drama” categories; Biography/Autobiography, Fiction, General Non-Fiction, History, Poetry, and Drama (technically not a book award, but plays are all available as books and have been included here).

The first African-American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize in any of the above categories was Gwendolyn Brooks who received the award for poetry for her collection Annie Allen in 1950.


2 Books were Finalists or Winners of Pulitzer Prizes in 1989

Finalist - Biography / Autobiography

The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967, I Dream a World (Life of Langston Hughes, 1941-1967)
by Arnold Rampersad

Publication Date:
List Price: $34.99
Format: Paperback, 576 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780195146431
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Parent Company: University of Oxford
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Read a Description of The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967, I Dream a World (Life of Langston Hughes, 1941-1967)


Book Description: 
February 1, 2002 marks the 100th birthday of Langston Hughes. To commemorate the centennial of his birth, Arnold Rampersad has contributed new Afterwords to both volumes of his highly-praised biography of this most extraordinary and prolific American writer.
The second volume in this masterful biography finds Hughes rooting himself in Harlem, receiving stimulation from his rich cultural surroundings. Here he rethought his view of art and radicalism, and cultivated relationships with younger, more militant writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Amiri Bakara. Rampersad’s Afterword to volume two looks further into his influence and how it expanded beyond the literary as a result of his love of jazz and blues, his opera and musical theater collaborations, and his participation in radio and television. In addition, Rempersad explores the controversial matter of Hughes’s sexuality and the possibility that, despite a lack of clear evidence, Hughes was homosexual.
Exhaustively researched in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and featuring fifty illustrations per volume, this anniversary edition will offer a new generation of readers entrance to the life and mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists.

Finalist - Drama

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1910s Century Cycle)
by August Wilson

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $13.00
    Format: Paperback, 94 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    ISBN13: 9780452260092
    Imprint: Plume
    Publisher: Penguin Random House
    Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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    Read a Description of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1910s Century Cycle)


    Book Description: 
    Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofFencesandThe Piano Lesson
    Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play

    “The glow accompanying August Wilson’s place in contemporary American theater is fixed.” Toni Morrison

    When Harold Loomis arrives at a black Pittsburgh boardinghouse after seven years’ impressed labor on Joe Turner’s chain gang, he is a free man—in body. But the scars of his enslavement and a sense of inescapable alienation oppress his spirit still, and the seemingly hospitable rooming house seethes with tension and distrust in the presence of this tormented stranger. Loomis is looking for the wife he left behind, believing that she can help him reclaim his old identity. But through his encounters with the other residents he begins to realize that what he really seeks is his rightful place in a new world—and it will take more than the skill of the local "People Finder" to discover it.

    This jazz-influenced drama is a moving narrative of African-American experience in the 20th century.