Author Dr. Ernest J. Gaines has died at the age of 86.
Gaines’ death has been confirmed by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was the school’s writer-in-residence emeritus.
Growing up on a Louisiana plantation, he wrote nine novels focusing on the Black experience.
In his storied career, Gaines was the first Louisiana Humanist of the Year. He was also a MacArthur Foundation fellow and a Medal of the Arts recipient.
He is perhaps most known for his novels The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying.
Both novels were made into television movies. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman film was released in 1974 and won nine Emmy Awards, including one for Cicely Tyson’s performance.
A Lesson Before Dying was released in 1999 and also starred Tyson alongside Don Cheadle and Mekhi Phifer. It won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.
You can watch clips of both films below:
Photo: Ernest J. Gaines Facebook
From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.