An American minister, lawyer, and author, he is best known for his 1905 novel, The Clansman. His other famous works include The Fall of a Nation and The Leopard's Spots.
He was deeply affected by a childhood experience in which he witnessed the Ku Klux Klan's murder of a black man who had been accused by a white woman of rape.
After graduating from law school, he earned a seat on the North Carolina General Assembly. He later became a Baptist minister.
He was born in Shelby, North Carolina. He married Madelyn Donovan in 1939.
His novel, The Clansman, was made into the film, The Birth of a Nation, by D.W. Griffith.