Novelist John A. Williams Dies at 89

John A. Williams

Novelist John A. Williams Dies at 89

African-American author John A. Williams, who wrote a dozen novels describing Black experiences, died at the age of 89 in Paramus, New Jersey.

Published July 7, 2015

Well-accomplished African-American author John A. Williams, who published a dozen novels and several non-fiction works during his career centered on Black experiences, died at the age of 89 in Paramus, New Jersey. 

Williams passed away at a veteran's home Friday, according to the New York Times. Williams authored several titles from the 1960s up until the 1990s, including The Man Who Cried I Am in 1967 and an autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr in 1970 called The King God Didn't Save: Reflections of the Life and Death of Martin Luther King Jr. His book critiqued King's work as a civil rights leader, writing that he was manipulated and killed by "white power." 

Williams was born in Jackson, Miss., on Dec. 5, 1925, and raised in Syracuse, New York. He earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1950 from Syracuse University and later worked as a European correspondent for Ebony and Jet magazines. He also worked as a correspondent in Africa for Newsweek

Williams went on to work as a professor at Rutgers University and retired in 1994. He has received several awards for his work including the American Book Award Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the National Literary Hall of Fame. He also has an honorary doctorate from Syracuse University. 

Williams is survived by his wife, Lorrain; sons Dennis, Adam and Gregory; sister Helen Musick; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

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(Photo: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

Written by Natelege Whaley


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