Charles Johnson was born in 1948 in Evanston IL. At an early age he showed an interest in drawing. He began his career as a cartoonist in high school drawing as a student of Lawrence Lariar. He won two competitions for his work from Columbia Scholastic Press. An adult discouraged him from pursuing art primarily so he went to school for journalism, continuing to draw, and pound the pavement in NY to get gigs. In that time while working for Chicago Tribune he saw a talk by Amiri Baraka and was inspired to do more cartooning about Black history and to reflect the times. He then worked Ebony and Jet magazine publishing cartoon strips and illustrations.
I picked up his book “All Your Racial Problems Will Soon End” and was inspired by the drawings he’d done in the 70s. But he didn’t stop there. Inspired by a friend he took creative writing and continued his college education earning a doctorate in Philosophy. Johnson would go on to write for papers like the NY Times and the Wall St Journal. But he also began writing novels such as The Middle Passage, King, and Soul Catcher. He became a professor of creative writing at the University of Washington for more than 30 years. He wrote over 20 scripts for TV, he was awarded by the MacArthur Genius Award, Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s a buddhist, and is still writing as we speak.
Sources: The Belief Agency, Wikipedia, oxherdingtale.com