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

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.

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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.

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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.

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From Kentucky to the World, writer Margaret Danner

Margaret Danner (portrait)

Margaret Danner, an African American writer, was born on this date in 1915.

Born in Kentucky, Danner and her parents moved to Chicago when she was young. When Margaret Esse Danner was in the eighth grade, she wrote her first prize-winning poem, "The Violin." Although it would be many years before her first book of poetry was published, the image and theme of the violin reappeared many times in later works.

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Johari Amini, a theater director and teacher

Johari Amini

Johari Amini (her name may also appear as JohariCourts-Amini, JCourts-Amini, JohariC) was born on this date in 1948. She is an African American teacher of theater, director of several outstanding plays, an educator, a writer, and an administrator.

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An African writing voice, Willie Kgositsile

Willie Kgositsile

*Willie Kgositsile was born on this date in 1938. He is an African poet, educator, and activist.

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Evelyn Williams, a pasionate southern poet


*Evelyn Dilworth-Williams was born on this date in 1945. She is an African American poet, teacher, author, and motivational speaker.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she is the seventh child of Guy and Bertha Dilworth. She has nine siblings, six older and three younger. Williams spent her early childhood living in the mining and farm community, Edgewater and Panola in Alabama. As a teenager and young adult, she actively participated in the 1963 Civil Rights Movement demonstrations and Voter Rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Rita Dove, poet extraordinaire

Rita Dove

Rita Dove was born on this date in 1952. She is an African American writer and poet.

Rita Frances Dove was born to Ray and Elvira Dove in Akron, Ohio. A National Merit Scholar, she graduated from Miami University in Ohio summa cum laude in 1973. She then attended the Universitaet Tuebingen in West Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship from 1974-1975. In 1977, she graduated from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop with an MFA.

It was in Iowa that Dove met her husband, German novelist Fred Viebahn; they married in 1979, and have one daughter, Aviva Chantal Tamu Dove-Viebahn.

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Versatile Angela Jackson, poet and promoter of the Black aesthetic

Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson was born on this date in 1951. She is an African American writer, and educator.

Jackson, born in Greenville, MS, was the fifth child of George and Angeline Jackson, with four more to follow. Jackson spent her earliest years living in Greenville, but her family later moved to Chicago. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, where she received many literary awards. During the 1970s, Jackson became sought-after reader and performer because of her mastery of the art of pause and rhythm during a performance.

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Poet with a stroke of luck, Sterling Plumpp

Sterling Plumpp

*Sterling Plumpp was born on this date in 1940. He is an African American poet, and educator.

From in Clinton, Mississippi, he was reared by his maternal grandparents, Mattie and Victor Emmanuel. They were sharecroppers, and Plumpp and his brother worked the fields with their grandparents. He and his family lived about ten miles from school, and there were no buses for them to ride. As a result, they did not start school until they were eight and nine years old, and able to walk the distance. As a young boy, Plumpp never attended school a full year.

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