Graphic Classics Volume 22: African-American Classics


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Eureka Productions
Publish Date
6.8 X 9.7 X 0.4 inches | 0.75 pounds
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About the Author

William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri, and lived much of his life in Harlem, New York. As one America's most cherished chroniclers of the black experience, known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes's work was constantly groundbreaking throughout his forty-six-year career. His poetry about the ocean and the symbolism that surrounds it stems from his travels through Africa and Europe working as a seaman.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an African American poet, novelist, and playwright. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Dunbar was the son of parents who were emancipated from slavery in Kentucky during the American Civil War. He began writing stories and poems as a young boy, eventually publishing some in a local newspaper at the age of sixteen. In 1890, Dunbar worked as a writer and editor for The Tattler, Dayton's first weekly newspaper for African Americans, which was a joint project undertaken with the help of Dunbar's friends Wilbur and Orville Wright. The following year, after completing school, he struggled to make ends meet with a job as an elevator operator and envisioned for himself a career as a professional writer. In 1893, he published Oak and Ivy, a debut collection of poetry blending traditional verse and poems written in dialect. In 1896, a positive review of his collection Majors and Minors from noted critic William Dean Howells established Dunbar's reputation as a rising star in American literature. Over the next decade, Dunbar wrote ten more books of poetry, four collections of short stories, four novels, a musical, and a play. In his brief career, Dunbar became a respected advocate for civil rights, participating in meetings and helping to found the American Negro Academy. His lyrics for In Dahomey (1903) formed the centerpiece to the first musical written and performed by African Americans on Broadway, and many of his essays and poems appeared in the nation's leading publications, including Harper's Weekly and the Saturday Evening Post. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1900, however, Dunbar's health steadily declined in his final years, leading to his death at the age of thirty-three while at the height of his career.

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) was an African American author, lawyer, and political activist. Born in Cleveland to a family of "free persons of color" from North Carolina, Chesnutt spent his youth in Ohio before returning to the South after the Civil War. As a teenager, he worked as a teacher at a local school for Black students and eventually became principal at a college established in Fayetteville for the purpose of training Black teachers. Chesnutt married Susan Perry--with whom he had four daughters--in 1878 and moved to New York City for a short time before settling in Cleveland, where he studied law and passed the bar exam in 1887. His story "The Goophered Grapevine," published the same year, was the first story by an African American to appear in The Atlantic. Back in Ohio, Chesnutt started the court stenography business that would earn him the financial stability to pursue a career as a writer. He wrote several collections of short stories, including The Conjure Woman (1899) and The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color-Line (1899), both of which explore themes of race in America and African American identity as well as employ African American Vernacular English. Chesnutt was also an active member of the NAACP throughout his life, writing for its magazine The Crisis, serving on its General Committee, and working with such figures as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. In addition to her most celebrated work, the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston's books include The Six Fools, Lies and Other Tall Tales, The Skull Talks Back, and What's the Hurry, Fox?

Lance Tooks's artwork has appeared in commercials, films, and music videos. He self-published the comic books Danger Funnies with Cry For Dawn, and contributed the Graphic Classics books, adapting the works of Edgar Allan Poe and others.