On his path to becoming a writer, scholar and educator, James Vernon Hatch followed his heart and a growing curiosity for understanding the human condition. Born in Oelwein, Iowa, Hatch grew up with little knowledge of or interaction with black people. It was while in graduate school at the University of Iowa that he was able to interact with African Americans like actor J. P. Cochran and writer and playwright Ted Shine, both of whom opened a world to him that he could not have imagined. In 1959, Hatch moved to Los Angeles to teach in UCLA’s Theater Department. Almost immediately, he fell in love with black people, their culture, and their cause—a deep passion Hatch maintains to this day.