Rudolph Fisher

Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher (May 9, 1897 – December 26, 1934) was an American physician, radiologist, novelist, short story writer, dramatist, musician, and orator. His father was John Wesley Fisher, a clergyman, his mother was Glendora Williamson Fisher.

Fisher had a successful career as an innovative doctor and author, who discussed the dynamics and relationships of Black and White people living in Harlem. This racial conflict was a central theme in many of his works.

Fisher graduated from Classical High School in 1915 with honors and further went to Brown University where he studied English and biology, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, and Sigma Xi. During this time, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Brown in 1919, where he delivered the valedictory address and received a Master of Arts a year later.

After graduating from Brown, Fisher took part in a Manhattan-based program titled “Four Negro Commencement Speakers” where he read his Brown commencement speech, “The Emancipation of Science”. At Howard Medical School, he studied Radiology. He later attended medical school at Howard University in Washington D.C, graduating with honors in 1924. Then, he came to New York City in 1925 to take up a fellowship of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University’s college, during which time he published two scientific articles of his research on treating Bacteriophage viruses with ultraviolet light.

In addition to researching and writing in medical and literary fields, Fischer also pursued his love for jazz. He played the piano and wrote musical scores. Fisher’s ability to use all of his talents simultaneously was evident during his college years. The summer after his college graduation, he and Paul Robeson toured along the East Coast as a band.

Fisher started his professional writing career by contributing to his articles and to journals, such as “National Association for the Advanced of Colored People’s (NAACP)” and his first contribution to magazines “The Crisis”.

Fisher’s first novel “Walls of Jericho” came out in 1928. He was inspired by a friend’s challenge to write this novel treating both the upper and lower classes of black Harlem equally. This novel presents a vision that African American men and women can both get ahead in life if they come together and form a bond against centuries of oppression. He then went on in 1932 to write “The Conjure Man Dies”, the first novel with a black detective as well as the first detective novel with only black characters. This novel was also set in Harlem. His novel was publicized by Covici-Friede making him the second African American to write a detective novel in the United States. –Wikiwand

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
PlaywrightThe Conjure Man Dies 2000-01 Season