©Author Adventures

Fisk University, Spawning Major Writers in Tennessee

Simply put, some of the most compelling and impacting major US writers were educated at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU in Nashville, Tennessee, including those listed below.

For short biographical information, please visit https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-fisk-university-alumni-and-students/reference.

  • Bobby William Austin (1944- ): sociologist whose widely published research studies focused on African-American males
  • Mary Frances Berry (1938- ): writer of African-American legal history
  • W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963): major Black writer and civil rights advocate; for information on additional places connected with this writer, please see W.E.B. DuBois in Massachusetts.
  • Nikki Giovanni (1943- ): poet, educator, activist
  • Dr. John Hope Franklin (1915-2009): major historian of African-American history; for information on additional places connected with this writer, please see John Hope Franklin in North Carolina.
  • Ella Mae Johnson (1904-2010): author
  • James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938): early NAACP leader and writer
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968): seminal civil rights advocate; for information on additional sites connected with this writer, please see Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr. in Georgia, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Tennessee.
  • Nella Larsen (1891-1964): Harlem Renaissance novelist and librarian
  • Julius Lester (1939-1918): prolific children’s book author, activist, photographer, musician, and professor
  • David Levering Lewis (1936- ): Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of W.E.B. DuBois. Also see W.E.B. DuBois in Massachusetts.
  • John Lewis (1940-2020): one of the most well-known and highly regarded civil rights leaders of the late 20th century and co-author of the award-winning graphic novel series March and Across That Bridge
  • Lawrence Dunbar Reddick (1910-1995): wrote the first biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also see Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr. in Georgia, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Tennessee.
  • Melvin B. Tolson (1898-1966): poet, columnist, researcher of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Ida B. Wells (1862-1931): journalist, educator, activist, and a founder of the NAACP
  • Charles H. Wesley (1891-1987): author of more than 15 books about African-American history and president of universities
  • Frank Yerby (1916-1991): novelist, best known for The Foxes of Harrow (1946), which was made into a major feature film starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O’Hara (1947)

Fisk Today

Located at 1000 17th Avenue N in Nashville, Fisk University, which was founded in 1866, remains a significant HBCU institution today. Tours of Fisk University can be arranged through https://www.fisk.edu.

Nashville has a population of nearly 700,000, as compared with approximately 26,000 when Fisk University began.

Fisk University is the fourth stop on our Tennessee Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart