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Fri, 05.12.1916

Albert Murray, Writer, and Critic born

Albert Murray

On this date, Albert L. Murray was born in 1916. He was a Black essayist and critic.

He was born in Nokomis, AL. He received his Bachelor's degree from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1939, and his M.A. from New York University in 1948. He also taught at Tuskegee. In 1943, he entered the U.S. Air Force, from which he retired as a major in 1962.

Murray's collection of essays, "The Omni-Americans," (1970), used historical fact, literature, and music to challenge the predominant false myths and perceptions of Black American life. In his next book, "South to a Very Old Place" (1971) continued his debate as he visited scenes of his segregated boyhood during the 1920s.  In "Stomping the Blues" (1976), Murray maintained that blues and jazz musical styles developed as affirmative responses to misery.

He also co-wrote Count Basie's autobiography, "Good Morning Blues" (1985) and wrote the novels, "Train Whistle Guitar" (1974), "The Spyglass Tree" (1991) and the essay collection, "The Blue Devils of Nada" (1996).

In addition to his own work, Murray was the credited ghostwriter of Count Basie's Good Morning Blues (1985), a memoir.  Albert Murray, whose writings assert the vitality and the powerful influence of Black people in forming American traditions died in Harlem in 2013, aged 97.

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