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Vincent Lushington "Roi" Ottley (August 2, 1906 — October 2, 1960) was an American journalist and writer.[1][2] Although largely forgotten today, he was among the most famous African American correspondents in the United States during the mid-20th century.[3]

Roi Ottley
BornVincent Lushington Ottley
(1906-08-02)August 2, 1906
New York City, New York, United States
DiedOctober 2, 1960(1960-10-02) (aged 54)
Occupationwriter, journalist, broadcaster
Notable worksNew World A-Coming: Inside Black America

Early lifeEdit

Ottley was born in New York City on August 2, 1906, to Jerome Peter and Beatrice Ottley, the second of their three children.[1] He attended public schools in the city,[2] and in 1926 went to St. Bonaventure College in Allegany, New York.[1][4] From 1928 he studied journalism at the University of Michigan. He later studied part-time at St. John's Law School[1] and Columbia University, both in New York City.[2][4]


Ottley worked for the Amsterdam News from 1931 to 1937.[1] In 1943 he published New World A-Coming: Inside Black America, which described life for African Americans in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s.[2][3][4] The book won the Life in America prize, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Peabody Award, and was adapted for radio.[1][2][4]

During World War II Ottley reported from Europe for Liberty Magazine, PM, and the Pittsburgh Courier.[1][4]

He later worked for the Chicago Tribune, and for CBS and BBC radio.[1]

Ottley's other published works include Black Odyssey: The Story of the Negro in America, 1948; No Green Pastures, 1951; and Lonely Warrior: The Life and Times of Robert S. Abbot, 1955. Two were published posthumously: White Marble Lady in 1965, and The Negro in New York: An Informal Social History, 1626–1940 in 1967.[1]


Ottley died on October 2, 1960 from a heart attack.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Roi Ottley Was An Outstanding Writer". African American Registry. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ottley, Vincent Lushington ("Roi")". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b McWhirter, Cameron. "Roi Ottley: An African-American Journalist Covers World War II". NiemanReports. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Roi Ottley Collection: St. Bonaventure University – Biography". Retrieved 30 January 2015.

External linksEdit