Famous Black Essayists

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 1 
James Baldwin
(Author Best Known for His Novel 'Go Tell It on the Mountain')
James Baldwin
5
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 2 
Ta-Nehisi Coates
(Author and Journalist Known for His Non-Fiction Books: ‘The Beautiful Struggle’ and ‘Between the World and Me’)
Ta-Nehisi Coates
5
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 3 
W. Kamau Bell
(Comedian)
W. Kamau Bell
5
Birthdate: January 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States U.S.
 4 
Amiri Baraka
(Writer)
Amiri Baraka
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark
Died: January 9, 2014
 5 
Bebe Moore Campbell
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 27, 2006
 6 
Ishmael Reed
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
 7 
Charles W. Chesnutt
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: November 17, 1932
 8 
John Edgar Wideman
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 9 
June Jordan
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: June 14, 2002
 10 
Cy Grant
(Actor, Musician)
Cy Grant
0
Birthdate: November 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Beterverwagting, Guyana
Died: February 13, 2010
 11 
Wallace Thurman
(Novelist)
Wallace Thurman
2
Birthdate: August 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died: December 22, 1934
 12 
Ayi Kwei Armah
2
Birthdate: October 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Takoradi, Ghana
 13 
Caryl Phillips
(Novelist, Playwright and Essayist)
Caryl Phillips
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis
 14 
Imbolo Mbue
(Writer)
Imbolo Mbue
2
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Limbe, Cameroon
Charlotte Forten Grimké
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: July 23, 1914
 16 
George Lamming
(Novelist)
George Lamming
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carrington Village, Barbados
 17 
James Alan McPherson
(Former essayist, short-story writer who was first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
James Alan McPherson
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: July 27, 2016
 18 
Dionne Brand
(Poet, Novelist)
Dionne Brand
0
Birthdate: January 7, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Guayaguayare, Trinidad and Tobago
 19 
Jessie Redmon Fauset
2
Birthdate: April 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camden County, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 30, 1961
 20 
Mongo Beti
(Cameroonian Author, Novelist and Political Essayist)
Mongo Beti
2
Birthdate: June 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cameroon
Died: October 8, 2001

Cameroonian writer Mongo Beti is remembered for his controversial satirical novels such as Le Pauvre Christ de Bomba. Expelled from his missionary school in Mbalmayo for his vocal nature, he later studied at the Sorbonne. His works also spoke about colonialism, negritude, and the ill-effects of French Catholic missionary activities.

 21 
Lewis Nkosi
(South African Novelist, Essayist and Poet)
Lewis Nkosi
1
Birthdate: December 5, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Died: September 5, 2010

South African writer Lewis Nkosi had initially been a journalist for the Zulu-English paper Ilanga lase Natal. After receiving a scholarship to Harvard, he was exiled from his country by the Suppression of Communism Act. His critical essays appeared in Home and Exile, and his themes included politics and sexuality.

 22 
Patrice Nganang
1
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Yaoundé, Cameroon
 23 
Abdourahman Waberi
(Novelist, essayist, poet, academic and short-story writer from Djibouti)
Abdourahman Waberi
1
Birthdate: July 20, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Djibouti City, Djibouti
 24 
Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel
(Writer known for his first novel published in English 'By Night the Mountain Burns' 2014)
Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel
0
Birthdate: November 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Malabo, Equatorial Guine
 25 
Eulalie Spence
(Playwright, screenwriters)
Eulalie Spence
1
Birthdate: June 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: March 7, 1981
 26 
Panashe Chigumadzi
(Journalist)
Panashe Chigumadzi
0
Birthdate: 1991 AD
Birthplace: Zimbabwe