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Black Thunder

by Arna Bontemps Arnold Rampersad

As Arna Bontemps himself suggested in his powerful 1968 introduction to Black Thunder (1936), this novel arose out of what might be seen as a set of concentric circles of depression and disaster, with Bontemps himself at the center. Yet, the harrowing circumstances of its birth and the fact that it has never enjoyed wide popularity should not obscure its achievement. Black Thunder was perhaps the first novel by a black American to be based on an actual American slave revolt or a conspiracy to revolt.

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