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The Top 7 American Writers of the 20th Century Founder, Troy Johnson on James Baldwin

I had the pleasure of speaking in a couple of the short video biographies, on American novelists, created by, which is part of the  A+E Television Networks.  I spoke briefly about James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.

There were several more videos created.  I’ve posted a seven of them below — hence the title of this article.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s written works made him an important spokesman of the Civil Rights Movement. His essays explored the black experience in America and his novel,”Giovanni’s Room,” was one of the first to tackle homosexuality.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was the leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance, showcasing the dignity and the beauty in ordinary black life. The hours he spent in Harlem clubs affected his work, making him one of the innovators of Jazz Poetry.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her novels include “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula,” and “Beloved.”

Harper Lee

In 1961, Harper Lee became the only author to win the Pulitzer Prize for her first and only novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Jack Kerouac

As a writer and pioneer of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac epitomized the era of sex, drugs, and jazz. His novel “On the Road,” which he wrote in a three-week bender of writing frenzy, became the bible of the countercultural generation.

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck gave voice to working class America. In 1939, he reported on migrant farm workers for the San Francisco Chronicle, providing the basis for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s blend of black comedy and wild imagination in works such as “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “Cat’s Cradle” made him one of the most loved writers of all time.

All of the videos are posted here are provided courtesy of A+E Television Networks, LLC.  © 2012 All Rights Reserved.


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.