Gerald Early (born April 21, 1952) is an essayist and American culture critic. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is currently the Merle Kling Professor of Modern letters, of English, African studies, African American studies , American culture studies, and Director, Center for Joint Projects in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for essay collection The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture. He also served as a consultant on Ken Burns' documentary films Baseball and Jazz and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson and The War. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Fresh Air. His essays have appeared in numerous editions of Best American Essays series. He writes on topics as diverse as American literature, the Korean War, African American culture, Afro-American autobiography, non-fiction prose, baseball, jazz, prizefighting, Motown, Miles Davis, Muhammad Ali and Sammy Davis Jr. Professor Early was honored by Washington University on September 5, 2007 with the unveiling of a portrait painted by Jamie Adams which hangs in the Journals Reading Room of the university's Olin Library. He has been nominated for the Grammy Award Best Album Notes twice in 2001 for Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis Jr. Story and in 2002 for Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From The Harlem Renaissance. He is married to Ida Early and has two daughters Linnet and Rosalind Early.