May 23, 1968
Sweet Home (Pulaski County) native Henry Dumas, a critically acclaimed author of poetry and fiction, was fatally shot for unknown reasons by a New York Transit policeman. Dumas’s family moved to Harlem when he was ten, but his life in the deep South and the desolate conditions confronting black Southerners in that era are insightfully depicted in several of his writings. Dumas became active in the civil rights movement and served as assistant director of Upward Bound at Ohio’s Hiram College. Eugene R. Redmond—a teacher, critic, and author at Southern Illinois University—championed his work and managed to get much of his unpublished work before the public.