Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for his 1993 novel A Lesson Before Dying, recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and author of the classic The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines is one of America's most respected authors. But when he was a young boy, the possibility of having such a career would have been nearly unimaginable. Gaines was the son of African-American sharecroppers whose family had worked on the same Louisiana plantation since slavery, and it seemed likely that he would follow the same path as his parents. Yet, Gaines somehow carved out a career as an acclaimed writer. Explore the path that took Gaines from the River Lake Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, to the upper echelons of American literature in Ernest J. Gaines.