Gayle was born in Newport News, Virginia. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1965 with a B.A. and received an M.A. in English from UCLA a year later. He taught English at Bernard M. Baruch College until his death in October 1991.
He wrote that a Black aesthetic can be "a means of helping Black people out of the polluted mainstream of Americanism".
Gayle edited Black Expression: Essays by and about Black Americans in the Creative Arts published by Weybright & Talley in 1969 and Bondage, Freedom and Beyond: The Prose of Black America published by Doubleday in Garden City, New York, 1970.
On September 12, 1965, Gayle married Rosalie Norwood, who was a lecturer at University of California, Los Angeles when they met. They divorced in 1971.
- The Black Situation (1970)
- The Black aesthetic (1971)
- Oak and Ivy: A Biography of Paul Laurence Dunbar (1971)
- Bondage, Freedom, and Beyond (1971)
- Claude McKay: The Black Poet at War (1972)
- The way of the new world (1975)
- Richard Wright: Ordeal of a Native Son
- Wayward Child: A Personal Odyssey (1977)
- Blau, Eleanor (5 October 1991). "Addison Gayle Jr., Literary Critic, Is Dead at 59". Archives. New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- Norment, Nathaniel (2005). "ADDISON GAYLE, JR.: "THE CONSUMMATE BLACK CRITIC" 1932-1991". CLA Journal. College Language Association. 48 (4): 353–386. ISSN 0007-8549. JSTOR 44325280.
- "Addison, Jr. Gayle (1932-1991) • BlackPast". BlackPast. 4 March 2010.
- Bader, Philip (14 May 2014). African-American Writers. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438107837.
- Company, Johnson Publishing (1 December 1974). "Black World/Negro Digest". Johnson Publishing Company.
This article needs additional or more specific categories. (July 2019)