Alice Childress

Facts about Alice Childress

Alice Childress died at 77 years old
Died: August 14, 1994
Best known as: The author of A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich

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Alice Childress Biography

Playwright and novelist Alice Childress is best known for her young adult book, 1973’s A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich.

Alice Childress began her career as an actress with the American Negro Theater of New York in 1940. By the end of that decade, she’d turned to writing plays, including 1949’s Florence.

She followed that with 1950’s Just a Little Something, based on works by poet Langston Hughes, and in 1955 she won an Obie award for her Trouble in Mind, a play-within-a-play about an actress struggling with African-American stereotypes on stage.

During the 1950s and ’60s, Childress earned a reputation as a playwright and director, and she developed a newspaper column, “Here’s Mildred,” for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. The column was based on her earlier book, Like One of the Family: Conversations From a Domestic’s Life (1956). Her most famous play was perhaps Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, the story of an interracial relationship that was finally produced in New York in 1972, six years after its publication.

Her novel A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich was the gritty tale of a 13 year-old heroin user. Childress adapted the book for the big screen in 1977.

Her other novels include Rainbow Jordan (1981) and Those Other People (1989), for younger audiences, as well as A Short Walk (1979), her only novel for adult readers.


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