Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Henry Dumas  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1934 in Sweet Home, Arkansas

-- Henry Dumas on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Henry Dumas worked at Southern Illinois University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Henry Dumas had a varied career. He was a Contributor, editor, publisher, and distributor for various literary magazines. He worked as a printing machine operator, social worker, and was a teacher-counselor, and director of the Experiment in Higher Education, At Southern Illinois University from 1967–68. Henry wrote about the clash between black and white cultures. Dumas was "accidentally" shot and killed by a New York Transit policeman in 1968.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Ark of bones and other stories
ISBN: 0394709470

Random House. 1974

A free-lance writer, active in the area of “little magazine” writing and publishing, and a member of the teaching staff of the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University in East St. Louis, Henry Dumas had amassed a considerable body of work at the time of his death in 1968 at the age of thirty-four. These two volumes (Ark of Bones and Other Stories and Poetry for my People), comprise most of his work, published and unpublished. They amply show the sensitivity and skill with which he approached the themes of blackness and youth, the preoccupations of the stories, and, in the themes and techniques of the poems, demonstrate the awareness of what an African heritage can mean to an American writer.

Jonoah & the Green Stone
ISBN: 0394497910

Random House. 1976

Rope of Wind And Other Stories
ISBN: 0394505298

Random House. 1979

A wonderful short story collection by this African-American writer who died before reaching his potential.

Knees of a Natural Man
ISBN: 0938410741

Thunder's Mouth Press. 1989

Book by Dumas, Henry

Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas (Black Arts Movement Series)
ISBN: 1566891493

Coffee House Press. 2003

Henry Dumas’s fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on surreal and mythic quests armed only with wit, words, and wisdom. Championed by Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, and Quincy Troupe, -Dumas’s books have long been out of print. All of his short fiction is collected here, for the first time, and includes several previously unpublished stories.

Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, moved to Harlem, joined the Air Force, attended Rutgers, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and Southern Illinois University. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York Transit Authority -policeman.