Remembering Cultural Critic Albert Murray, Contemporary of Romare Bearden and Ralph Ellison

Harlem, NEW YORK—Albert Murray, the acclaimed writer and critic whose essays emphasized that black art and culture was not separate from the American experience but a vital part of its foundation, died. He was 97 and lived in Harlem.

A jazz historian and friend to many pivotal figures of 20th century arts and letters—Ralph Ellison, Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis among them—Murray established his literary reputation with the 1970 publication of his first book “The Omni-americans: Black Experience And American Culture.” Many other titles followed, more recently “Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray” in 2000.

The New York Times obituary offers a comprehensive look back at his life. A collector of fine art, Murray’s works by Lewis and Bearden were exhibited at DC Moore gallery last year.

IMAGE: Albert Murray and Romare Bearden in Harlem, 1980. By Frank Stewart via June Kelly Gallery

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