John Oliver Killens was born in Macon, Ga. in 1916, and lived in a time of segregation. He served in the military during World War II, and although he experienced overt racism in the service, he wrote about his experiences in And Then We Heard the Thunder, a novel that would be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He wrote other acclaimed works, and during the 1960s, worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and was influenced by Malcolm X. He later became a writer-in-residence at Fisk University, wrote historical works, and became a teacher and mentor to future Black literary legends. This is his story.