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Henry Dumas


Henry Dumas (1934–1968) was a poet and fiction writer from Sweet Home, Arkansas, and a leader in the Black Arts, Black Power, and Civil Rights Movements. He is also now known to have been a founder of Afro-Surrealism and Afrofuturism. In May of 1968, a New York Transit Authority policeman shot and killed Dumas in a case of so-called “mistaken identity.” He was thirty-three years old. Over the course of his abbreviated life, Dumas served in the U.S. Air Force and held faculty roles at Hiram College and Southern Illinois University; he was also husband to Loretta Dumas and father to their two sons, David and Michael. Although Dumas published and received awards early in his career, the bulk of his writings were collected posthumously, thanks to the tireless vision of his colleague Eugene Redmond.
He has been celebrated by such writers as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Gwendolyn Brooks.