Author: John O. Killens

John O. Killens, Library of Congress

John Oliver Killens (1916–87) was a black novelist, essayist, editor, and cofounder of the Harlem Writers Guild. Born in Macon, Georgia, to literary parents who introduced him to the writings of Langston Hughes and other poets, Killens served in the Pacific amphibious forces during World War II, following which he moved to New York to focus on his writing career and, later, taught English at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. His novels include Youngblood (1954), And Then We Heard the Thunder (1962), and The Cotillion or One Good Bull Is Half the Herd (1971), the latter two of which earned nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.

God Bless America

John O. Killens

The absurdity of racial discrimination and segregation is rarely more evident than when it appears in the armed forces, as Americans of all races are called upon to fight and risk their lives for our common country. This poignant tale (1952) by black novelist, essayist, editor, and cofounder of the Harlem Writers Guild John Oliver Killens (1916–87) drives the point home.