John Oliver Killens was born on January 14 1916, in Macon, Georgia. He was the second of the three sons of Charles Miles and Willie Lee Killens. Killens' parents nurtured his pride in his Black cultural heritage, and aroused his interest in African-American history, folklore, and literature. His paternal great-grandmother told him stories of African–American endurance during the dark days of slavery. His maternal great-grand mother was raped at the age of twelve by her Master's son, with the result that she gave birth to his maternal grandfather.
Early in life, Killens wanted to become a physician; during his adolescent years, he intended to become a lawyer; and after his war experiences, he decided to become a writer. He attended Pleasant Hill School, a segregated public elementary
Citation: Chander, Harish. "John Oliver Killens". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2492, accessed 03 December 2023.]