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John Edgar Wideman

February 19, 2010

John Edgar Wideman was born June 14,1941 and grew up in Pittsburgh,PA. At Penn, he became an All-Ivy League forward on the basketball team, and the second African-American to win the Rhodes Scholarship. He graduated in 1963, then returned to campus in 1967, joining the English faculty. He later became the second tenured African-American faculty member at Penn, and in December 1970, was appointed the first Director of the newly formed Afro-American Studies Program. In his professional career, Wideman was awarded the MacArthur genius grant, and was the first person to win the International PEN/Faulkner Award twice (for his books Sent for You Yesterday and Philadelphia Fire).

Here is an additional article from Penn’s Gazette, and video from Wideman reading on campus in 2000.

S. Albergottie-Amoah
CGS’11

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