Who was Louise Meriwether? Cause of Death, Age, Wiki, Bio, Family, Career, Net Worth & More

Louise Meriwether was a celebrated writer and activist who died at 100 on October 10, 2023. She was best known for her novel ‘Daddy Was a Number Runner’, which portrayed the life of a Black girl in Harlem during the Great Depression. She also wrote biographies of Rosa Parks and Robert Smalls, and other novels that explored race, gender, and class issues. She was a part of various social movements and received many awards for her work. She was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Harlem. She graduated from New York University and worked as a journalist, teacher, and social worker. She married twice and had four children.

Louise Meriwether Biography Profile

NameLouise Meriwether
Nick NameN/A
Date of BirthMay 8, 1923
Birth PlaceHaverstraw, New York, USA
Age (as of 2023)100 years old (deceased)
Zodiac signTaurus
ProfessionNovelist, essayist, journalist and activist
EthnicityBlack (African-American)
Home Town/StateHarlem, New York City
SchoolCentral Commercial High School
CollegeNew York University
Educational QualificationBachelor of Arts in English
HobbiesWriting, reading, socializing
Marital StatusDivorced twice
HusbandAngelo Meriwether (m. 1950 – d. 1965), Earle Howe (m. 1967 – d. 1972)
ChildrenFour children: David, Julia, Michael and Angela Meriwether
Net WorthN/A

Louise Meriwether Early Life and Education

Louise Meriwether was born in Haverstraw, New York, to Marion Lloyd Jenkins and Julia Jenkins, who were both from South Carolina and migrated north in search of work after the stock market crash of 1929. Her father was a painter and bricklayer and her mother was a nurse. She was the only daughter and the third of five children. She grew up in Harlem during the Great Depression and witnessed the poverty and racism that plagued the Black community. She attended Central Commercial High School in Manhattan and developed a passion for writing and literature. She graduated in 1942 and worked as a secretary for a few years before enrolling at New York University in 1944 with the help of a scholarship. She studied English and graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Louise Meriwether Family Details

Father NameMarion Lloyd Jenkins
Mother NameJulia Jenkins
Brother(s)Two brothers: James and Robert Jenkins
Sister(s)Two sisters: Mary and Ruth Jenkins
Wife/HusbandAngelo Meriwether (m. 1950 – d. 1965), Earle Howe (m. 1967 – d. 1972)
ChildrenFour children: David, Julia, Michael and Angela Meriwether

Louise Meriwether Career Highlight

Louise Meriwether was a novelist, essayist, journalist and activist who wrote about the experiences of Black people in America. She published her first and most successful book, Daddy Was a Number Runner, in 1970, which was based on her childhood memories of growing up in Harlem during the 1930s. The novel was praised by critics and readers for its realistic and vivid portrayal of life in Harlem through the eyes of a young girl named Francie Coffin. The novel also addressed issues such as racism, sexism, violence, poverty and education that affected the Black community. The novel was considered a classic of African American literature and was compared to works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin3. The novel also inspired many young Black writers such as Jacqueline Woodson, who said: “It was one of those books that made me want to write.”

Meriwether also wrote biographies of prominent Black figures for children, such as Rosa Parks: The Woman Who Changed a Nation (1976), The Heart Man: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1978) and Robert Smalls: Sails to Freedom (1981). She also wrote other novels that explored historical and contemporary issues of race, gender and class, such as Fragments of the Ark (1994), which was about an escaped slave who became a Civil War hero; Shadow Dancing (1997), which was about an interracial romance between a Black woman and a white man; and The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls (2007), which was a sequel to her earlier biography of Robert Smalls.

Meriwether was also a journalist who wrote for various publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ms., The Crisis and The New York Times. She covered topics such as politics, culture, feminism and civil rights. She also worked as a story analyst for Universal Studios in Hollywood from 1965 to 1967. She was the first Black woman hired as a story editor in Hollywood.

Meriwether was also a lifelong activist who participated in various movements for peace, civil rights and women’s rights. She marched with Martin Luther King Jr., protested against the Vietnam War, supported Angela Davis’s trial, joined the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and advocated for Black feminism. She was also a founding member of the Harlem Writers Guild and the National Writers Union.

Meriwether received many honors and awards for her literary and humanitarian work, such as the Cornell Icon of Industry Award, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award from Ireland, and the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy. She also received honorary doctorates from several universities, such as New York University, Medgar Evers College and Long Island University.

Meriwether died on October 10, 2023 at the age of 100 due to old age. She was survived by her four children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Louise Meriwether Physical Stats and More

Height (Aprox.)in centimeters- 160 cm
Weight (Aprox.)in Kilograms- 65 kg
Body TypeAverage
Figure SizeN/A
Eye ColorBrown
Hair ColorBlack (graying)
Hair LengthShort
Shoe SizeN/A

Louise Meriwether Favorite Things

Favorite ThingsDetails
Favorite ColourBlack, red, green
Favorite ActorSidney Poitier
Favorite ActressDorothy Dandridge
Favorite MoviesTo Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple
Favorite SingersBillie Holiday, Nina Simone
Favorite FoodSoul food
Favorite BooksNative Son by Richard Wright, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Favorite WearCasual and comfortable
Favorite AnimalCat
Favorite Things to DoWriting, reading, socializing
Favorite DestinationHarlem

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My name is Shivani Patel from Surat, Gujarat. I am the blogger, founder, and key owner of Lookout Info. I have been blogging for the last five years. I love to research and write biographies of great people.

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