KaToya Ellis Fleming is the 2019–20 Oxford American Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow. She holds a BA in English from Spelman College and an MFA in narrative nonfiction writing from the University of Georgia. She is currently at work on her debut nonfiction book, a bibliomemoir titled Finding Frank. Her work focuses on race and culture in the American South.
An Omnivore essay from the Spring 2020 issue.
My preconceived ideas about Frank’s work after reading The Foxes of Harrow made me question what could make a Black man who came of age in Augusta, Georgia, in the 1920s write stories in which Black people were disparaged, or irredeemably victimized, or absent altogether. But in this reverse chronology that I had accidentally undertaken to explore his work—along with what I was learning about him from his letters, his recorded interviews, and his remaining friends and family—I found myself more willing to take a closer look at what his absence from the historical literary conversation really signifies.