On this day in Alabama history: George Wylie Henderson was born

On this day in Alabama history: George Wylie Henderson was born
"Ollie Miss" book cover. (amazon.com)

June 14, 1904

George Wylie Henderson was born June 14, 1904 in Warrior Stand in Macon County. The novelist and short-story writer’s works reflected a transition between the literary style of the Harlem Renaissance and the emergence of the 1940s protest novel. He was the second of eight children to George and Ella Henderson. His father, an 1899 graduate of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), was the pastor of the Butler’s AME Zion Church in Tuskegee. Henderson himself attended Tuskegee Institute from 1918 to 1922, where he studied printing. During his senior year there, Henderson was elected class orator and twice competed in the Trinity Church Boston Oratorical Prize contest at Tuskegee. He graduated in 1922, married and moved to New York. He was published in the New York Daily News and Redbook in the 1930s and 1940s. His two most famous works are his novels, “Ollie Miss,” which he published in 1935, and its sequel, “Jule,” which was published in 1946. “Ollie Miss” received widespread critical acclaim. It takes place in Macon County and is about a sharecropper who earns a farm of her own. “Jule” is set in the “Ollie Miss” universe and follows the title character, the illegitimate son of Ollie Miss, and his journey to Harlem to join a printer’s union.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama

Portrait of George Wylie Henderson. (Image courtesy of the Alabama Literary Map, Caroline Marshall Draughon
Center for the Arts & Humanities)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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