On this day in 1954, journalist Nathan McCall was born in Norfolk, Virginia.
Raised by his mother and stepfather, McCall graduated in 1973 from Manor High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. He had plans to attend college, however, he was sent to prison for three years due to his involvement in an armed robbery. Upon release, McCall turned his life around and received his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1981 from Norfolk State University.
After graduating, McCall began working as a reporter for Norfolk, Virginia’s paper, The Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star. In 1989, he landed a position with The Washington Post.
In 1994, McCall published Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America, an autobiography outlining his journey from prison to success. Shortly after, he published Wat’s Going On, a series of essays on race relations. His first novel, Them, was published in 2007.
Aside from his career in literature and journalism, McCall also served in the African American Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia as a senior lecturer.
His work has received several awards and honors, such as making it to the Essence magazine bestseller list, the Publishers Weekly’s best books list, and the Blackboard Book of the Year for his autobiography, a New York Times bestseller.
In 2008, McCall’s novel, Them, was a finalist for the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction as well as a finalist for the 2008 Townsend Prize for Fiction and a nominee for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.