By Philip Bader
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Washington’s Early Days (1972). Bontemps also published his only collection of poetry, Personals, in 1963. After his retirement from Fisk University in 1966, Bontemps held distinguished teaching positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (1966–69), and at Yale University (1969–70), where he also served as the curator for the James Weldon Johnson Collection at the Beinecke Library. He returned to Fisk University in 1970 and served as writer-in-residence until 1973. In his final years, Bontemps published The Harlem Renaissance Remembered (1972), a collection of literary reminiscences of the celebrated authors and literary figures of that era, many of whom he had known personally.
He also published four more books: Drums at Dusk (1939), a historical novel about the 18th-century black revolution in Santo Domingo; Father of the Blues, a biography of blues legend W. C. , 1941); and The Fast Sooner Hound (1942), a children’s tale that he coauthored with Jack Conroy. In 1943 Bontemps received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Library Science and accepted the position of head librarian and professor at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he remained until 1966.
Though aesthetically at odds with the younger generation of African-American writers, many of whom he assiduously promoted, Braithwaite earned their respect. , Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris, eds. The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Appiah, Kwame Anthony, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999. , and Nellie Y. McKay, eds. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature.