Nebraska Authors

James A. Emanuel

Born 1921-06-15 Alliance, NE (USA)

Died 2013-09
Paris (FRANCE)


Buried in a pinewood coffin in a cemetery in Paris.

One of the most prolific Black poets from Nebraska. His greatest satisfaction came from writing Langston Hughes, "a book evolving from my racial pride."

Places Lived

Alliance, NE (1921-1940)
Wellington, KS
Rock Island, IL
Evanston, IL
Washington, D.C.
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Grenoble, FRANCE
Warsaw, POLAND

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry


Poetry; Black literary history; Biography;


Bachelor of Arts Degree, summa cum laude, 1950, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Master of Arts Degree, 1953, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Ph.D., 1962, Columbia University, New York, NY


Canteen Steward in Civilian Conservation Corps
Weighmaster with an Iron Company in Rock Island, IL
Confidential Secretary, Assistant Inspector General of the United States Army
Chief of Pre-Induction, Army and Air Force Induction Station, Chicago, IL
Teacher of English and African-American Poetry
Professor of English
Fulbright Professor
Consultant on Black Literature

Places Worked

Civilian Conservation Corps
Iron Company, Rock Island, IL
Secretary to the Inspector General of the United States Army, Washington, D.C.
Army and Air Force Induction Station, Chicago, IL
YWCA Business and Secretarial School, New York, NY
City College, City University of New York, NY
University of Grenoble, FRANCE
University of Warsaw, POLAND
University of Toulouse, FRANCE
New York State Education Department


Fulbright Professor to University of Grenoble, FRANCE and to the University of Warsaw, POLAND
Visiting Professor to University of Toulouse twice
Has given readings of his poetry in universities, schools, and to civic groups in United States and Europe
Consultant on Black Literature with New York State Education Department
John Hay Whitney Foundation Opportunity Fellowship 1952-54
Eugene F. Saxton Memorial Fellowship, 1964-65.
Poems were included in the Broadway show "A Hand is on the Gate"


American Association of University Professors
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


Langston Hughes. 1967.
Dark Symphony: Negro Literature in America. 1968. (editor)
The Treehouse and Other Poems. 1968.
At Bay. 1968.
Panther Man. 1970.
How I Write. 1972. (with McKinley Kantor and Lawrence Osgood)
Black Man Abroad: The Toulouse Poems. 1978.
A Chisel in the Dark: Poems Selected and New. 1980.
Snowflakes and Steel: My Life as a Poet. 1981.
The Broken Bowl: New and Uncollected Poems. 1983.
A Poet's Mind. 1983.
Deadly James: And Other Poems. 1987.
Whole Grain: Collected Poems 1958-1989. 1991.

James A. Emanuel Poems anthologized in:
Sixes and Sevens. 1962.
American Negro Poetry. 1963.
New Negro Poets: U.S.A. 1964.
Anthologie de la Poesie Negro-Americaine: 1770-1965. 1966.
Kaleidoscope: Poems by American Negro Poets. 1967.

Contributor to approximately 75 other volumes; has also published about ninety poems in periodicals including:
Phylon, Negro Digest, Renaissance, and Imprints Quarterly
Contributor of book reviews to Books Abroad, and New York Times Book Review
Contributor of articles and essays to scholarly journals.
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017 (contributor.)

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James A. Emanuel

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)