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Fri, 01.14.1916

John O. Killens, Novelist born

John O. Killens

This date marks the birthday of John Oliver Killens, a Black novelist and professor, born in Macon, GA. in 1916.

Killens studied at Terrell Law School, Columbia University, and New York University from 1936 to 1942.  After serving in the military, he worked for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., and then moved to Brooklyn. Killen’s first novel, "Youngblood," was published in 1954 and his second, "And Then We Had Thunder," in 1963. In between those two novels, he wrote the script for the film "Odds Against Tomorrow."

He taught creative writing at Fisk University, Columbia University, and Howard University, and at Medgar Evers College. In 1965, John Killens wrote a "Black Man's Burden," series of critically acclaimed essays. His final work was "Great Black Russian--The Life and Times of Alexander Pushkin." His writings have been translated into almost a dozen languages.

John Oliver Killens died in 1987.

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