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From NPR

By John Ridley

I have in my collection of rare pulp fiction a 1969 printing of Chester Himes’s Run Man Run. The jacket copy is simultaneously to-the-point and over-the-top: “Lush sex and stark violence colored black and served up raw by a great Negro writer.” If one were to crank out a micro-summary of Chester Himes’s work, that would pretty much be it.

Himes, who would have turned 100 today, fairly personified the grit and grandeur of the hard-boiled life. As a teen in Cleveland he lost his virginity to what he described as “an old fat ugly whore.” As a young man, he was kicked out of Ohio State University, eventually nicked for armed robbery, and sentenced to 25 years hard labor. Once inside, however, Himes bides his time writing short stories and is eventually published in Esquire, using his prison number as his pen name — 59623.

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