This corpus represents a collaboration between the University of Chicago and The Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) at the University of Kansas (https://hbw.ku.edu/). Since the project’s founding in 1983, HBW’s mission has been to identify texts that have been lost to history and advocate for their return, to promote the awareness of the works by African American authors, and to create opportunities for learning about and engaging them. One outcome of these efforts has been the collection of over 1000 well-known and lesser-known novels by African American writers, which are currently in the process of being digitized. Here we make available 891 novels from this collection, representing writing from a wide range of genres and authors spanning the late-nineteenth to the late-twentieth century. This corpus will continue to be updated as the collection is digitized. A full list of the novels that will eventually be included in the corpus can be found here (https://hbw.ku.edu/novel-collections).