Washington University in St. Louis Acquires the Papers of Author Charles Johnson

University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis has acquired the papers of Charles Johnson, the acclaimed author, cartoonist, and essayist who won the 1990 National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage.

Spanning nearly six decades, the archive brings together manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, artwork, and ephemera and serves as a testament to Dr. Johnson’s wide-ranging career as a Black intellectual. The archive includes some of his original panel drawings as a cartoonist and many drafts from his work as a novelist. He also has made a name for himself as an exceptional essayist and nonfiction writer as well as a successful writer of screenplays and teleplays.

A native of Evanston, Illinois, Dr. Johnson got his start as a political cartoonist, producing two cartoon collections, Black Humor (1970) and Half-Past Nation-Time (1972). He was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 1998. In 2002, he received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award for literature. Dr. Johnson is professor emeritus at the University of Washington, where he began teaching in 1976.

Professor Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in philosophy from Southern Illinois University. He holds a Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in New York.

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