In Memory of James Alan McPherson

He was the first African American to earn a law degree from Harvard. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Elbow Room. He was a mentor and friend to countless authors who came through the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. And he was deservedly one of the most beloved people in Iowa City. Once he played my classmates a recording of John Coltrane, as Coltrane crashed through some horrible, disjointed music. “That’s him,” he said. “He’s learning.”

Jim McPherson died this week.

(Originally posted July 29, 2016)

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