Literature

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

Ishmael Reed is a total writer


Ishmael Reed

*Ishmael Reed was born on this date 1933. He is an African American writer.

From Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he was still a child, he and his family moved to Buffalo, New York, where Reed eventually attended the University of New York at Buffalo from 1956-1960. Reed is total writer, creating in poems, novels, essays, articles and more.

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Haki Madhubuti, a great contemporary writer


Haki Madhubuti

*Haki R. Madhubuti was born on this date in 1942. He is an African American poet, essayist, and editor.

Born Donald Luther Lee (Don L. Lee) in Little Rock, Arkansas, he attended the University of Illinois and received an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.

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An author of "Thought," Harold Cruse


Harold Cruse

*Harold Cruse was born on this date in 1916. He was an African American author and intellectual.

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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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