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John Jeremiah Sullivan


About

John Jeremiah Sullivan has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, for almost twenty years. He has been writing for the Oxford American for even longer than that—twenty-five years, to be exact—his first piece, an interview with the late songwriter Vic Chesnutt, having appeared in this magazine’s pages in 1997. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a co-founder of the nonprofit research collective Third Person Project. His new OA column, “Fugitive Pieces,” gives space to ephemeral items that have turned up in his research.

Articles

Issue 21/22, Summer 1998

Vic Chesnutt

Forget phrasing. Vic has somehow turned pronunciation into an instrument.

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 45, April 2003

That Don’t Get Him Back Again

The story of Christopher Bell, which Gordon includes, is tragic. It is also, in other ways, quintessential.

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Three Encounters

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

That Chop on the Upbeat

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Talking Drum #1

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 95, Winter 2016

Baby Boy Born Birthplace Blues

On that hillside, up which I walked most days to get home from school, had been this unnamed cave—still was a cave, I suppose, way down, but you couldn’t see or access it—and slaves went there to...

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 99, Winter 2017

Death Rattle

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 107, Winter 2019

Talking Drums

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 119, Winter 2022

The Tragic Tale of Rackback Tom and His Repentant Spouse

Such is the story of Rackback Tom and Mattie Floyd, which has its whole existence in a smattering of documents and news items from East Texas.

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Issue 122, Fall 2023

In Old Wilmington

How the failed search for a silent film uncovered a lost musician of the Harlem Renaissance

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL, PART 1

On Texas, old newspapers, race music, and two black lives that shaped the history of civil rights In 1891, C. N. Love noticed how much money other state’s newspapers were making on his labor and...

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL, PART 2

On Texas, old newspapers, race music, and two black lives that shaped the history of civil rights. C. F. Richardson was self-avowedly “militant.” He used the word and lived it. On his draft card he...

By John Jeremiah Sullivan