James Lincoln Collier

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James Lincoln Collier (born June 27, 1928) is an American journalist, professional musician, and author of books, primarily non-fiction for adult readers and fiction for children.

Collier was born to Edmund Collier and Katherine Brown. He came from a family of writers and teachers, including his father and several aunts and uncles. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1950. A journalist with thirty years of experience, Collier worked with his brother, Christopher Collier, to create works of historical fiction designed to be fun and educational for children. Christopher Collier was a history professor and gave James historical information so that he could write the stories. Their historical novel Jump Ship to Freedom (1981) has been frequently challenged and removed from libraries because of the use of the word "nigger" by characters in the book.

Collier's notable literary works include My Brother Sam Is Dead (1974), a Newbery Honor book that was also named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book and nominated for a National Book Award in 1975. He also wrote a children's book titled The Empty Mirror (2004), The Teddy Bear Habit (1967), about an insecure boy whose beatnik guitar teacher turns out to be a crook, and Rich and Famous (1975), sequel to The Teddy Bear Habit. His list of children's books also includes Chipper (2001), about a young boy in a gang. His writings for adults include numerous books on jazz, including biographies of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. He has also contributed entries on jazz-related subjects to the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

In addition to his writing, Collier is an accomplished jazz musician who plays the trombone professionally.

In July 2014, Collier stirred controversy when his article "Nigger in the White House" was published in WestView News, a West Village newspaper. The article is critical of perceived racism in the far-right's opposition to President Barack Obama.[1][2]


  1. Goldstein, Sasha (July 7, 2014). "Black WestView News columnist avoids reading controversy over newspaper's Obama 'N-word' headline". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Molloy, Antonia (7 July 2014). "Barack Obama called N-word in New York newspaper headline". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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