William Jackson Harper

On this date in 1980, American actor and playwright William Jackson Harper was born in Dallas as William Fitzgerald Harper. Harper grew up in a heavily conservative Christian home. “When I was a kid, they made us write these essays about what heaven would be like. I went to this Christian school in Texas, and the thing that I wrote was no bees. No bees. No mud. No infirmities,” he told Ebony magazine.

In 2003, he graduated from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Harper began his acting career in the realm of theater and was cast in 2014 as James Harrison and Stokely Carmichael in “All the Way,” his Broadway debut. His most notable television role is Chidi Anagonye, a moral philosophy professor on “The Good Place” (2016). The first play he wrote, “Travisville,” was inspired by the Texas civil rights movement and premiered at the Ensemble Studio Theater in October 2018. 

Dominique Redfearn photo, cropped. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Freedom From Religion Foundation