Famed Louisiana Novelist Ernest J. Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and other novels, passed away this week at his home in Oscar, Louisiana. He was 86 years old.
The son of sharecroppers, Gaines was born on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish. His family moved to California in his early teens, but Gaines returned to Louisiana 15 years later -- in 1963. Eight years later, Gaines would publish his most famous novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. He would go on to write a total of eight books, many of them detailing the struggles of African-Americans in rural Louisiana. Several became famous TV movies as well.
Karl Lengel recalled Gaines' legacy with C.E. Richard, an English Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette -- where Ernest J. Gaines spent more than twenty years as a writer-in-residence.