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Chester Himes: A Rage in Harlem, Internationally Acclaimed Writer

Chester Himes: A Rage in Harlem, Internationally Acclaimed Writer

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Item Number:
27 min.
Closed Caption:
TMW Media Group
Grade Level:
8 - College
CHESTER HIMES born 1909 in Jefferson, Missouri into a middle class academic black family was an internationally acclaimed African American writer who created a violent and cynical picture of the black experience in America by writing about his encounters with racism. This program is a moving portrait of a man who used his literary talents to vent his rage against an unjust society. In 1928 when Chester Himes was nineteen, he was chained upside down, beaten by police until he confessed to an armed robbery, sentenced for 20 to 25 years, and incarcerated in the Ohio State Penitentiary. By the time he was paroled in 1936, he had become a nationally known writer publishing stories in the African-American periodicals and Esquire. His novels, short stories and screenplays were mostly about black protagonists doomed by white racism and hate. By the 1950's Himes had decided to settle in France permanently, a country he liked in part due to his critical popularity there. Living among other expatriate writers that included James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright, he published a series of black detective novels set in Harlem in the '50's and '60's that established Chester Himes' international reputation as an author and literary equal of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

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