Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas

May 4, 2021
Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas

Africanfuturism, gothic romance, ghost story, parable,psychological thriller, inner-space fiction: Henry Dumas's storiesform a vivid, expansive portrait of Black life in America.Championed by Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, Dumas's fabulistfiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture andnature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmeringstreets of Harlem, his characters embark on real, magical, andmythic quests. Humming with life, Dumas's stories create a collageof midcentury Black experiences, interweaving religious metaphor,African cosmologies, diasporic folklore, and America's history ofslavery and systemic racism.Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and movedto Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 andspent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. Upon his return, Dumasbecame active in the civil rights movement, married, had two sons,attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at HiramCollege in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University. In 1968, atthe age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York CityTransit Authority police officer.