From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Fletcher, Theodore Thomas Fortune, Sr.

(born: 1906  -  died: 1988) 

T. Thomas Fortune Fletcher, Sr. was an educator and poet. He lived for ten years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he established and was principal of Medane Alem Secondary School for boys. He was also a professor of English at the Haile Selassie First University.

Fletcher was born in Nicholasville, KY, the son of Robert and Mattie B. Spillman Fletcher. T. T. F. Fletcher, Sr. earned his undergraduate degree at Fisk University, his English and journalism graduate degree from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from New York University, where he completed his dissertation, Robert Bage, a Representative Revolutionary Novelist, in 1945.

When Fletcher was an undergraduate at Fisk University, several of his poems, including "Night" and "White God," were published in Ebony and Topaz: a collectanea, edited by Charles S. Johnson, in 1927. His other poems were published in a number of sources including three poems in The Crisis, July 1935: "To one who died in the spring," "Request," and "I have found beauty infinitely sad" [poems online in Google Books]. Fletcher was also an international traveler: he was living in New York when he arrived from France in 1928, from Italy in 1934, from Scotland in 1936, and from Egypt in 1947 [source: New York Passenger List].

Fletcher was an associate professor of English at Lincoln University in Missouri prior to his taking a special leave and sailing to Ethiopia in July 1946 at the invitation of the Imperial Ethiopian Government. When Fletcher returned to the U.S. in 1956, he was hired as an English professor and later became a dean at Cheyney State University. He retired from the school in 1974. One of his former students was newsman Ed Bradley (1941-2006). Theodore Thomas Fortune Fletcher, Sr. was the husband of Jeane Simon (1908-1997), from New York, and the father of Theodore, Jr.

For more, see p. 704 in The American Negro Reference Book by J. P. Davis; "Only sense of humor keeps Harlem Poet living, he says," Baltimore Afro-American, 1/25/1930, p. 2; "Party given for principal," Baltimore Afro-American, 4/14/1951, p. 10; "Sigma Gamma Rho ships to Addis Ababa," Baltimore Afro-American, 7/25/1953, p. 6; and J. Nicholson, "Theodore Fletcher, Cheyney Scholar," Philadelphia Daily News, 4/13/1988, Local section, p. 71.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jessamine County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Nicholasville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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“Fletcher, Theodore Thomas Fortune, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-10 16:36:14