Louisiana-born author, educated in California, received an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and was librarian of Fisk University. His novels about his black people include God Sends Sunday (1931), about a jockey, dramatized with Countee Cullen as St. Louis Woman (1946); Black Thunder (1936), about a slave revolt in Virginia in 1800; Drums at Dusk (1939), about the slave revolt and emancipation in Haiti; and many children's books, including Sam Patch (1951), written with Jack Conroy. His nonfiction includes another work written with Conroy, They Seek a City (1945); The Story of the Negro (1948); Chariot in the Sky (1951), about the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University; and One Hundred Years of Negro Freedom (1961). His correspondence with Langston Hughes was published in 1979.