Who was E Lynn Harris?
E Lynn Harris was an American author who wrote about the lives of black gay men, breaking new ground in the literary world. He was born as Everette Lynn Jeter on June 20, 1955, in Flint, Michigan, and changed his name to E Lynn Harris when he entered the publishing industry. He was one of the first African-American students to attend Forest Heights Junior High and Hall High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas, where he became the first black male cheerleader and yearbook editor. He worked as a computer salesman for IBM, AT&T, and Hewlett-Packard for 13 years, before quitting to pursue his passion for writing. He self-published his first novel, Invisible Life, in 1991, and sold it from the trunk of his car to black beauty salons and bookstores. He eventually became one of the most popular and successful writers in the country, with 10 consecutive books on The New York Times Best Seller list. He was also a generous and courageous person, who supported many causes and mentored many aspiring writers. He was among the inaugural 50 American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor in 2019.
How did E Lynn Harris die?
E Lynn Harris died on July 23, 2009, at the age of 54, while on a business trip to Los Angeles, California. He was found unconscious at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. According to the Office of the Los Angeles County Coroner, he died of heart disease complicated by a hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. His death was announced by his friends and colleagues on social media and in the press, and was met with shock and sadness by his fans and the literary community.
Why is E Lynn Harris’s death important?
E Lynn Harris’s death is a loss for the world of literature, especially for the representation of black gay men. He was one of the pioneers of the genre, who exposed readers to characters rarely depicted in fiction: black, affluent, masculine, complex, and sometimes closeted gay men. He also addressed issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS in his novels, which were both entertaining and educational. He challenged the stereotypes and stigma that surrounded black gay men, and encouraged them to live authentically and openly. He also inspired many other writers, especially black and LGBTQ writers, to follow his footsteps and tell their stories. He was a trailblazer who opened doors and minds with his words.
How can we honor E Lynn Harris’s legacy?
E Lynn Harris’s legacy lives on through his books, which are still available to read online or on various platforms. He was a creative and talented writer who brought joy and enlightenment to millions of readers with his stories. He was also a kind and brave human being, who touched many lives with his actions. We can honor his memory by appreciating his art, learning more about his life, and supporting the causes he cared about, such as fighting for racial and LGBTQ equality and justice. E Lynn Harris was a writer who made a difference, but left us too soon.