Black Thunder

Front Cover
Beacon Press, 1936 - Fiction - 224 pages
3 Reviews
'Gabriel Prosser's 1800 slave revolt allowed Bontemps to warn of the rebellion that would come of poverty and racial oppression. This metaphor of revolution is at the same time a highly pertinent representation of black masculinity that will reward students of gender, slavery and the sensibilities of the 1930s.'

-Nell Irvin Painter

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Review: Black Thunder

User Review  - Vzenari - Goodreads

I liked the strange leaps between the subplots and the many shifts into interior monologue. It read it compulsively even though I knew what its sad conclusion would be. Read full review

Review: Black Thunder

User Review  - Christopher Sutch - Goodreads

This is a most impressive, wonderful, lyrical and engaging historical novel about one of the first recorded slave revolts in America. Writing at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, Bontemps ... Read full review


Introduction to the 1992 Edition
Introduction to the 1968 Edition
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About the author (1936)

Arna Bontemps was one of many African American writers associated with Fisk University, where he taught for 20 years. He became a visiting professorship at Yale University and returned to Fisk to spend the last years of his life there. Bontemps grew up in the South and wrote of the condition and spirit of the southern black in memoirs and in fiction. His historical and topical novel Black Thunder (1936) is perhaps his best known, along with Drums at Dusk (1935). As an active leader in the Harlem Renaissance, however, Bontemps wrote prolifically in all genres and for children as well as adults. He produced several important collections of narratives about enslaved people and African American folk tales. Bontemps was a major anthologizer of Harlem Renaissance work and helped shape the new black writing as theoretician and critic. Bontemps died in 1973.

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