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

Pearl Cleage, playwright, artistic director, essayist and novelist

Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage, an African American writer, was born in Springfield, MA, on this date in 1948.

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Austin Steward, from servitude to authorship

Austin Steward

*The birth of Austin Steward in 1793 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black slave, businessman, administrator and biographer of his life as a slave in America.

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A great contemporary writer, Gloria Naylor

Gloria Naylor

*Gloria Naylor was born on this date in 1950. She is an African American author.

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"And That's The Truth," Bell Hooks

Bell Hooks

*Bell Hooks was born on this date in 1952. She is an African American author, Black feminist and social critic.

Born Gloria Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she uses the name bell hooks (spelled without capitals) to honor her mother and grandmother. In 1973, she graduated Stanford University, followed by a degree from University of Wisconsin in 1976 and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983.

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A man of deep, radical thought, Cyril Lionel James

Cyril Lional James

Cyril Lionel Robert James was born on this date in 1901. He was an Afro Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist, and writer.

James was born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony. The son of a schoolteacher from Tunapuna, Trinidad, he was strongly influenced by his mother who was an avid reader.

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Chinua Achebe, Nigeria's finest modern writer

Chinua Achebe

*Chinua Achebe was born on this date in 1930. He was a Nigerian Author and literary activist. Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born in Ogidi, a Nigerian Ibo village. His father became a Christian and worked for a missionary teacher in various parts of Nigeria before returning to the village. As a student, Achebe immersed himself in Western literature. At the University College of Ibadan, whose professors were Europeans, he read Shakespeare, Milton, Defoe, Swift, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Tennyson.

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Gerald Barrax, a poet with humanity in mind

Gerald Barrax

Gerald Barrax was born on this date in 1933. He is an African American poet, teacher, and literary editor.

He was born in Attalla, AL, but raised in Pittsburgh. Barrax earned his B.A. in English from Duquesne University and his M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He also worked as editor of Obsidian, a publication that reviews Black Literature and has been considered a major contemporary influence in the world of literary expression and scholarship; he also worked for several other publications.

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Ignatius Sancho, an early Black composer and writer

Ignatius Sancho

The birth of Ignatius Sancho, a Black writer, in 1729 is celebrated on this date.

He was born on a slave ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the West African nation of Guinea. After the ship reached the Caribbean port of Cartagena, in what is now Colombia, his mother died and his father committed suicide.

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Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about American slavery

Alexis de

Alexis de Tocqueville was born this date in 1805. He was a White French journalist and abolitionist writer.

He was born in Paris to Herve-Bonaventure Clerel de Tocqueville and Louise Le Peletier de Rosanbo. His older brothers were named Hippolyte and Edouard. Tocqueville came from an aristocratic background. He had a private tutor, the abbe Lesueur, until high school, and then attended high school and college in Metz. He studied law in Paris and worked as a substitute judge in Versailles before coming to America in 1831, when he was 25 years old.

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William Attaway, an early Black script writer for films, TV and more

William Attaway

William Attaway was born on this date in 1911. He was an African American novelist, essayist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter, and song writer.

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