Literature

Blacks who influence the written word, novelist, poets, playwrights, etc.

Sekou Sundiata combined words, music, theater to teach


Sekou Sundiata

Sekou Sundiata was born on this date in 1948. He was an African American poet who writes for print, performance, music, and theater and he is a teacher.

Born Robert Feaster in Harlem, NY, he changed his name to Sekou Sundiata in the late 1960s to honor his African heritage. He taught at New York City's New School. Famous students include musicians Ani DiFranco and Mike Doughty.

Sundiata graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from the City College of New York in 1972 before successfully completing a master's degree in creative writing from the City University of New York.

Bebe Moore, a writer of depth


Bebe Moore
Campbell

*Bebe Moore was born on this date in 1950. She was an African American teacher, journalist, and novelist.

Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, the only child of Doris Moore and George L. P. Moore. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public Schools, graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls.

John Edgar Wideman, his words "Do Apply"


John Edgar Wideman

*John Edgar Wideman was born on this date in 1941. He is an African American writer and educator.

From Washington, D.C., shortly before his first birthday, his family moved to Homewood, a black community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that has been the locale of much of his writings. He attended Peabody High, one of Pittsburgh’s best secondary schools. There, he excelled in his studies as well as in sports.

Frank Walker, a voice and writer of reason


Frank X. Walker

Frank X. Walker was born on this date in 1961. He is an African American writer, administrator, poet, and educator.

Walker is a native of Danville, Ky., the eldest son of seven children of Faith and Frank Walker, Sr. As a youngster in school, he asked one of his teachers why there weren’t more books by Black authors in their library. Her response was

Afro-Cuban, Lydia Cabrera, writer and activist


Lydia Cabrera

Lydia Cabrera was born on this date in 1899. She was an Afro Cuban writer and literary activist.

Carolyn Rodgers, an interesting poet


Carolyn Rodgers

Carolyn Rodgers, an African American writer, poet, and educator, was born on this date in 1945.

Born in Chicago, Carolyn Marie Rodgers attended the University of Illinois in 1960, but transferred to Chicago's Roosevelt University one year later and received her BA in 1965. She began writing as a college freshman. In 1980, she earned a master's degree in English from the University of Chicago. She achieved a national reputation as a writer whose works largely relate to her concern with feminist issues and a particular concern for Black women.

American's first Black Poet Laureate, Robert Hayden


Robert Hayden

*Robert Hayden was born on this date in 1913. He was an African American poet.

Born Asa Bundy Sheffey, Hayden was raised in the poor Paradise Valley neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. He had an emotionally turbulent youth and was shuttled between the home of his parents and that of a foster family, who lived next door. Childhood events would result in times of depression he would call 'my dark nights of the soul'. A nearsighted boy, he was often ostracized by his peers and was excluded from many physical Hobbies. Reading on the other hand occupied a great deal of his time.

Toi Derricotte, one of Michigan's finest


Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte was born on this date in 1941. She is an African American writer.

From Hamtramck, Michigan, "toy dare-i-cot"; Derricotte is the daughter of Benjamin Sweeney Webster and Antonia Webster Cyrus. She studied special education at Wayne State University, where she earned a B.A., and studied English literature and creative writing at New York University, where she received her M.A.

Henry Dumas, a legacy carried on


Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas was born on this date in 1934. He was an African American teacher and writer.

Marcus B. Christian, Bayou poet and teacher


Marcus B. Christian

*Marcus B. Christian was born on this date in 1900. He was an African American poet, and educator.

From Mechanicsville (Houma), LA, he was the son of Emanuel and Rebbecca (Harris) Christian, Sr. Marcus Bruce Christian was educated at Houma Academy in New Orleans, from 1906-1913. He and his family moved to New Orleans in 1919. Christian also started Bluebird Cleaners in 1926. From 1932-1976, his writing career began and flourished with the Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans, as poetry editor and as a special feature writer.