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Ellesia A. Blaque

author, poet, educator, and civil rights activist, was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, and with his family migrated to Harlem, New York, in 1944. After graduating from Commerce High School in 1953, Dumas studied briefly at the City College of New York prior to entering the U.S. Air Force in 1953, in which he served four years, including tours in San Antonio, Texas, and the Middle East. In 1955, while still enlisted, Dumas married Loreta Ponton. Upon completing his armed services commitment in 1957, he entered Rutgers University, but his tenure was short, and he did not receive a degree. In 1958 he and his wife started a family, which comprised two sons, David, born in 1958, and Michael, born in 1962.

From 1963 to 1964 Dumas worked at IBM and it was at this ...

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Trudier Harris

The literary legacy of Henry Dumas is one that has been kept alive almost single-handedly by fellow poet Eugene Redmond. Dumas inspires interest not only for his unique vision of black people in the diaspora, but because of the tragedy of his own life. Mistakenly shot down by a New York City Transit policeman on 23 May 1968, when he was a mere thirty-three, his life is emblematic of the precarious position of black men in America and the painful situation of a talented young man dying so young. Observers can only speculate, sadly, about what he might have accomplished if he had somehow escaped the fate assigned to him. In many ways Dumas has become a cultural icon in African American literary circles.

Henry Dumas was born on 20 July 1934 in Sweet Home Arkansas where he spent his early years and was saturated with the ...