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 Thomas Dixon, Jr

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Thomas Dixon, Jr

  • Original Name Thomas Jeremiah Frederick
  • Birth 11 Jan 1864 Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, USA
  • Death 3 Apr 1946 Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 5005686

Author, Lecturer. He is probably best remembered as the author of "The Clansman" (1905) that would later become the inspiration for film director D.W. Griffith's epic 1915 movie "The Birth of a Nation." The son of a wealthy southern landowner, he grew up during the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War. In 1879 he graduated from the Shelby Academy in his hometown and enrolled at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, earning a Master's Degree in 1883. He then attended John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland on a scholarship but left soon afterwards to pursue a career in journalism and acting. He moved to New York City, New York and enrolled in the Frobisher School to study drama but when it did not pan out, he returned to North Carolina and enrolled in Greensboro law School in Greensboro, North Carolina and in 1885 he was awarded his law degree at the age of 20. He then ran and was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly but only served for one term. During his short political career he became widely known for championing Confederate veterans' rights. He decided to pursue a law practice but soon became disenchanted and left the law profession to become a Baptist minister and was ordained in October 1886. He pastored churches in Goldsboro and Raleigh, North Carolina before being offered a church in Boston, Massachusetts and while there, he became immensely popular. In August 1889 he accepted a position in New York City but within five years he became disillusioned with the Baptist denomination and in 1895 he resigned and became affiliated with a non-denominational church. Four years later he quit preaching entirely and became a full-time lecturer. He felt a need to tell the story of living in the South following the American Civil War and in 1902 he published his first novel "The Leopard's Spots," the first of his "Trilogy of Reconstruction" which would later be followed by "The Clansman" (1905) and "The Traitor" (1907), and they all became best-selling books. His other notable works include "The One Woman: A Story of Modern Utopia" (1903), "Comrades: A Story of Social Adventure in California" (1909), "The Root of Evil" (1911), "The Sins of the Father: A Romance of the South" (1912), "The Foolish Virgin: A Romance of Today" (1915), "The Fall of a Nation" (1916), "A Man of the People" (1920), "The Sun Virgin" (1929), and "The Flaming Sword" (1939). He saw his career rise and fall over the years during which he earned and lost millions of dollars. His last job was as a court clerk in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he died at the age of 82.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 24 May 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5005686
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Dixon, Jr (11 Jan 1864–3 Apr 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5005686, citing Sunset Cemetery, Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .