This abridged and updated edition of the acclaimed Oxford Companion to African American Literature presents more than 400 biographies of authors, critics, literary characters, and historical figures, and 150 plot summaries of major works. A breathtaking achievement, it covers an enormous range of writers - from Sojourner Truth to Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison to Toni Morrison. It contains entries on major works (including synopses of novels) and also incorporates information on literary characters, as well as on character types such as Aunt Jemima and Brer Rabbit. Icons of black culture are addressed, including Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, Marcus Garvey, Jackie Robinson, John Brown, and Harriet Tubman. There are general articles on poetry, fiction, and drama; on autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; as well as on a wide spectrum of related topics.