James Earl Jones: “My Soul Looks Back and Wonders How I Got Over”

  • Glenda E. Gill


These words, popularized first by Mahalia Jackson and then by Aretha Franklin, express the miracle, the awe, the virtual impossibility of James Earl Jones’s staggering achievements. Most importantly of all, he has triumphed over adversity without becoming embittered. A man of dignity, class, humility, and prodigious talent, he has won two Tony Awards, for best actor in Howard Sackler’s The Great White Hope in 1969 and in August Wilson’s Fences in 1987, two Obies, the Vernon Rice Award, an honorary doctorate from Princeton, several Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, the National Medal of Arts, and several NAACP honors. He has performed in more than 150 stage and screen productions.


Black Actor Honorary Doctorate Maternal Grandparent Black Father Cherry Orchard 
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Copyright information

© Glenda E. Gill 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenda E. Gill

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