AALBC.com LogoCopyright © 1997-2017, All Rights Reserved — https://aalbc.com — troy@aalbc.com — Tel: 347-692-2522

Frank Yerby

Frank Yerby photo

Frank Garvin Yerby (September 5, 1916 – November 29, 1991) was a writer, best known for his historical novel The Foxes of Harrow, which was the first novel written by an African-American to become a best seller.

Frank Yerby Frank Yerby was born in Augusta, Georgia, the second of four children. His father a hotel doorman, was part African-American, part Seminole; his mother was Scots-Irish. Yerby attended Augusta's Haines Institute, a private school for African Americans. In 1937, he graduated from Paine College with a B.A. in English and earned his M.A. from Fisk University in 1938. In 1939, he began courses for his doctorate in education at the University of Chicago but left school to teach.

Yerby worked as an instructor of English at Florida A&M College (later University) and at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He later migrated north, to Dearborn, Michigan, where he worked as a technician at Ford Motor Company, and soon thereafter to Jamaica, New York, where he was employed as an inspector at Ranger Aircraft.

Yerby's first literary success came in 1944 when he received the O. Henry Memorial Award for his short story Health Card, which focuses on the racial inequities faced by an African American soldier and his wife. Prior to this story, Yerby had written a protest novel about racial inequities in the South, but publishers had rejected it.

Yerby began writing a series of best-selling historical novels ranging from the Athens of Pericles to Europe in the Dark Ages. In all, he wrote 33 novels. In 1946, he published The Foxes of Harrow, a Southern historical romance, which became the first novel by an African-American to sell more than a million copies. He also became the first African-American to have a book purchased for screen adaptation by a Hollywood studio, when 20th Century Fox optioned Foxes. Ultimately, the book became a 1947 Oscar-nominated film of the same name starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O'Hara.

Frank Yerby was not exclusively a novelist; he was a poet and short story writer as well. John Henrik Clarke featured Yerby's short story The Homecoming in A Century of the Best Black American Short Stories.

Yerby died on November 29, 1991, he was 75 years-old.

Read Eugene Stovall’s revealing profile of Frank Yerby.


★ Are you the author? Let us be your primary web presence. Register your domain and link it here for free.


Tell us how much you like Frank Yerby.

22 Books by Frank Yerby








Vote for Your Favorite Black Author of the 21st Century
25 African Male Writers You Should ReadAfrican Men: 25 You Must Read

AALBC.com Bestselling BooksAALBC.com Bestselling Books


Printed: December 14, 2017, 6:56 pm
☆ Mission
To Celebrate Black Culture Through Literature and Literary Nonfiction to Readers of all Backgrounds and Ages; and Advocate for Independent Media

☥ About Us
Started in 1997, AALBC.com (African American Literature Book Club) is the largest, most frequently visited web site of its kind. More
Customer Service
Advertising Rates
Advertiser Login
Contact Us – FAQ
Give Us Feedback
AALBC on Pinterest AALBC on Facebook AALBC on Twitter
AALBC RSS Feed AALBC on Youtube Email AALBC