Other literary forms
Known primarily as a novelist but also as a short-story writer, John A. Williams has produced an extraordinary number of nonfiction pieces, many of them journalistic. He was among the first African Americans of his generation to write a fact book about Africa, Africa: Her History, Lands, and People (1962). His treatment of 1960’s social issues can be found in The Protectors: The Heroic Story of the Narcotics Agents, Citizens, and Officials in Their Unending, Unsung Battles Against Organized Crime in America and Abroad (1964) and in This Is My Country Too (1965), which documents Williams’s travels throughout the United States in 1963-1964, from articles serialized in Holiday magazine.
A controversial work, The King God Didn’t Save: Reflections on the Life and Death of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1970) is a critical look at civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.’s public and private life, and The Most Native of Sons: A Biography of Richard Wright (1970) treats the life of the famed black novelistRichard Wright. A comprehensive compilation of articles, some autobiographical, was published in Flashbacks: A Twenty-Year Diary of Article Writing (1973). Williams has also produced an award-winning book of poetry, Safari West (1998), the play Last Flight from Ambo Ber (pr. 1981), dealing with the Falashas in Ethiopia, and the libretto for the opera Vanqui (pr. 1999).