Killens, John Oliver

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Killens, John Oliver


Born in 1916, in Macon, Ga. American black writer. Son of a worker.

Killens was active in the trade union movement. During World War II (1939–45) he served as a soldier in the US Army. In the late 1950’s, Killens headed the writers’ guild in Harlem (New York). He was active in the movement to obtain equal rights for blacks. His novel Youngblood (1954; Russian translation, 1959), which contains features of naturalism, deals with the life of a black working-class family in the state of Georgia during the 1920’s and 1930’s; the novel is permeated with the spirit of the liberation struggle. The fate of a black member of the intelligentsia who becomes convinced of the falseness of American democracy is shown in Killens’ novel And Then We Heard the Thunder (1963; Russian translation, 1965).


Limanovskaia, V. “’Molodaia krov.’ “ Inostrannaia literatura, 1955, no. 3. (A review.)
Landor, M. “Schast’e nepokorstva.” Druzhba narodov, 1959, no. 7. (A review).
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Killens, John Oliver. The Cotillion or One Good Bull Is Worth Half the Herd.