Raymond Andrews, during the last decades of the twentieth century, published four novels and an autobiography that offer insight into African American life in the American South. He was the fourth of ten children born to George and Viola Andrews. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews were sharecroppers; thus, family life was characterized by the hardships of tenant farming. Andrews’s parents, unlike most of their sharecropping neighbors, were literate, and they subscribed to newspapers and magazines. The publications and a radio, which was a rarity among the Georgian sharecroppers during that time, allowed the Andrewses to expose their children to life beyond the boundaries of tenant farming. The parents, in spite of the numerous practical day-to-day demands on them, found time for creative expression. George Andrews was a self-taught artist, and his wife enjoyed writing. They encouraged their children to read and draw. When there was no money for art supplies, father and children drew in the dirt. Decades later, paintings and prints created by Benny, the Andrewses’ second child, were included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art as well as other national and international museums. One of his exhibits at several museums was “Folk: The Art of Benny and George Andrews.” Benny also collaborated with his younger brother Raymond; he illustrated each of Raymond’s books.
When Raymond Andrews was fifteen years old, he moved to Atlanta and worked as a hospital orderly while he...
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