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Roark Bradford

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Name  Roark Bradford
Role  Short story writer

Movies  The Green Pastures
Plays  John Henry
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Died  1943, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Education  University of California, Berkeley
Books  How come Christmas, John Henry, Ol' Man Adam, Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun, Let the band play Dixie
Similar People  Marc Connelly, William Keighley, Sheridan Gibney

Santa reads how come christmas by roark bradford

Roark Whitney Wickliffe Bradford (August 21, 1896 Lauderdale County, Tennessee — November 13, 1948 New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American short story writer and novelist.



He attended University of California, Berkeley, and served as a first lieutenant in the Coast Artillery during World War I.

He married Lydia Sehorn, divorcing her in July 1933 after having only son Richard Bradford. He then married Mary Rose Sciarra Himler, also a writer, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He was night city editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Bradford continued to produce well-received work during the 1930s and early 1940s. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Bureau of Aeronautics Training during World War II. In 1946, he accepted a position as visiting lecturer in the English department at Tulane University in New Orleans.

On November 13, 1948, he died of amebic dysentery, believed to have been contracted while he was stationed in French West Africa in 1943. His cremated remains were spread over the waters of the Mississippi River.

At the time of his death, Bradford’s writings were very popular. Since the 1940s, however, much of his body of work has been reevaluated. Many criticize his work as patronizing and demeaning in its portrayal of black characters.

Marc Connelly adapted Ol' Man Adam and his Chillun for the stage as The Green Pastures, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

His stage adaption of John Henry appeared in New York City in 1940.

His work appeared in Collier's, Harper's, and Virginia Quarterly Review,


  • 1927 O. Henry Award
  • Works

  • Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun. Harper & Row. 1928. 
  • This Side of Jordan. Harper & brothers. 1929. 
  • How Come Christmas 1930 (reprint. Cherokee Pub. 1987. ISBN 978-0-87797-208-2. 
  • Ol' King David an' the Philistine Boys. Harper & Brothers. 1930. 
  • John Henry 1931 Reprint Steven Carl Tracy, ed. (2008). John Henry: Roark Bradford's novel and play. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-537104-8. 
  • Kingdom coming. Harper & Brothers. 1933. 
  • Let the Band Play Dixie 1934 (reprint. Books for Libraries Press. 1970. ISBN 978-0-8369-3612-4. )
  • The Three-Headed Angel. Harper & brothers. 1937. 
  • Harold Courlander, ed. (2003). "The Birth of John Henry". A treasury of Afro-American folklore. Marlowe & Company. ISBN 978-1-56924-501-9. 
  • M. Thomas Inge, ed. (1999). "The Private World of William Faulkner". Conversations with William Faulkner. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-57806-136-5. 
  • References

    Roark Bradford Wikipedia