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Joseph A. Walker (1935-2003) was an African American writer, theater director and professor. He is best known for writing the drama The River Niger, a three-act play that was originally produced Off-Broadway in 1972 by the Negro Ensemble Company before being transferred to Broadway in 1973 and then adapted into a 1976 film starring James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson. [1] In 1974, Walker became the first African American writer to win the Tony Award, being honored for The River Niger. The playwright previously won an Obie Award during that play's 1972-1973 Off-Broadway run. [2]

Walker was born in Washington, D.C, and earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Howard University and a masters degree in drama from Catholic University. He taught drama at Howard University and later served also chairman of the theater department at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.[1]

Walker’s other plays included the drama District Line [3] and the musical King Buddy Bolden.[1]



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