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Mon, 12.17.1906

Earl Conrad, Author, and Journalist born

Earl Conrad

*Earl Conrad was born on this date in 1906. He was a white Jewish-American author. He penned at least twenty works of biography, history, and criticism, including book collaborations.

Earl Cohen (his birth name) was born to Eli and Minnie Cohen in Auburn, New York, into a Jewish family with nine siblings. He wished to be a writer from a young age. His early experience included a time at the Auburn Advertiser-Journal. He was "raised in the Judaic tradition." However, He chose to Anglicize his name when he began his career as a professional journalist. He was a journalist for the newspaper PM in New York City and other papers.

As the Harlem Bureau Chief for The Chicago Defender, he investigated lynching in the South. This work brought him into contact with Haywood Patterson. In 1950, Conrad co-wrote Patterson's memoir, Scottsboro Boy, about his experience as one of nine men accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. Conrad married Anna Alyse Abrams in 1938; the couple had one son, Michael Earl Conrad. The family lived in San Francisco during the 1967-1972 period in an apartment downtown, not far from Union Square. In the early 1980s, they lived in Coronado, California.

Some of his papers are in the local history collection of the Cayuga Community College in Auburn. Other papers are in the collection of the University of Oregon. His interests as a writer included biographies of show business personalities, such as his memoir of Errol Flynn and his biography of Dorothy Dandridge, and issues related to African Americans, such as his biographies of Harriet Tubman.

He wrote a fantasy novel about an African American nation carved out of the American South, a country in the shape of Africa. He died on January 17, 1986, of complications from lymphoma.

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