Legacy

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

African American literary historians such as Arna Bontemps and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., have identified the slave narrative as an original genre of American literature whose form has greatly influenced African American autobiography and fiction. Twentieth century autobiographies by Richard Wright, Malcolm X, and others adapt the structure of the slave narrative to twentieth century African American life. Novels such as Ishmael Reed’s Flight to Canada (1976), Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987), and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage (1990) re-create slaves’ narratives in fictional form.