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David Todd Lawrence

critic, theorist, poet, dramatist, essayist, editor, and folklorist, was born Lawrence Paul Neal in Atlanta, Georgia. Soon afterward, his parents, Woodie, a railroad worker, and Maggie Neal, a domestic, moved Larry and his four brothers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they spent their formative years. Neal graduated from the city's Roman Catholic High School in 1956 and went on to pursue a degree in history and English at Lincoln University, a predominantly black university near Philadelphia. After completing his formal education with a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963 and teaching briefly at the Drexel Institute of Technology (later Drexel University), Neal moved to New York City, where he married Evelyn Rogers. They settled in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem and later adopted a son, Avatar Though Neal lived in Washington D C and other cities ...


Elizabeth Sanders Delwiche Engelhardt

Born Lawrence Paul Neal to Woodie and Maggie Neal in Atlanta, Georgia, on 5 September 1937, Neal grew up in Philadelphia with his four brothers. Larry Neal graduated from Lincoln University and then completed a master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent most of his adult life in New York.

Although he was a prolific essayist, Neal is perhaps best known for editing Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing with Amiri Baraka. This collection, published in 1968, was among the early attempts to define the aesthetic of the new Black Arts movement. Neal's essays included in Black Fire and elsewhere are recognized as some of the most cogent statements of that aesthetic. Neal was committed to politics in his life and writing; but he insisted on artistic rigor as well as revoluntary intent in literature.

Neal produced reviews of artists ranging from Lorraine ...