NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, U Street/Striver's Section, African American, Harlem Renaissance Era, Howard University, Genre, Also of Interest

Rudolph Fisher
(May 9, 1897 – December 26, 1934)

1607 S St. NW, Historic Striver’s Section, DC.

Fisher is the author of The Conjure-Man Dies (1932), the first African American detective novel. He also published one other novel, The Walls of Jericho (1928), as well as numerous short stories, collected posthumously as City of Refuge (1991).

Fisher was born in DC and raised in Providence, RI. He returned to DC to attend Howard University Medical School, graduating summa cum laude in 1924. While here, he was active in the group now known as the Harlem Renaissance. In addition to writing fiction, Fisher was an accomplished musician, who wrote arrangements of songs for Paul Robeson’s first New York concert.

He moved to New York in 1925, to take a Fellowship at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, where he specialized in roentgenology (radiation therapy), and in 1930 he was named superintendent of International Hospital. Fisher died tragically young in 1934, following an unsuccessful abdominal surgery, at the age of 37.

This was Fisher’s address for two years, beginning in 1920, when he first returned to DC. He lived in two more DC addresses: on site at the Howard University Medical School while he was a student (and where he moonlighted as the night watchman in exchange for tuition), and at the second address, a two-room apartment on Florida Avenue NW, where he moved after his marriage.

245 Florida Ave NW, Bloomingdale neighborhood, DC.