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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ann Plato, Black woman author born

*The birth of Ann Plato around 1820 is celebrated on this date. She was a nineteenth century Black educator and author.

Plato was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Like many Blacks that lived in America during this time, there is very little information recorded about her. Most of what is known about Plato comes from the introduction in her book that was written by Reverend W.C. Pennington, pastor of the Colored Congregational Church of Hartford, who also called her "Platoess".

A "Spoken Word" original, Ted Joans

Ted Joans

Ted Joans was born on this date in 1928. He was an African American painter, trumpeter, and a jazz poet.

From Illinois, He studied trumpet, sang bebop, and earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from Indiana University before moving to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1951. He was one of the first Beat poets, and authored over 30 books of poetry, prose, and collage, including Black Pow-Wow, Beat Funky Jazz Poems, Afrodisia, Jazz is Our Religion, Double Trouble, Wow, and Teducation.

Stanley Crouch, critic, columnist, novelist who speaks out

Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch was born on this date in 1945. He is an African American music critic, syndicated columnist, and novelist.

Born in Los Angeles, Crouch began writing at the age of eight through the encouragement of his mother. He also became active in the civil rights movement while in junior high school. After graduating from high school, he attended two junior colleges in the Los Angeles area. While studying at the East Los Angeles Junior College, Crouch worked for a poverty program in East Los Angeles, teaching a literacy class.