A Guyanese-born novelist, playwright, and poet, he was a leading figure in West Indian literature and in the twentieth-century Black Power movement. His best-known literary works include Black Midas and The Wild Coast.
He moved from a small coastal village in Guyana to the United States when he was four years old.
He was an Emeritus Professor of African-American Studies at Northwestern University.
His younger sister was kidnapped in New York in 1926 but was returned alive a year later.
Like W.E.B. Dubois, Carew was an author who advocated for African-American equality.