Black Poetry Day: History and Celebration
Black Poetry Day is celebrated on October 17th each year. This day is considered the time to celebrate both past and present black authors like Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
As poets, we should spend this day appreciating African-American authors and spreading the word of Black poets through our friends, family members, and throughout the world.
This holiday was first proposed in 1970 by Stanley A. Ransom to celebrate black culture and life.
Black Poetry Day takes place on the birth day of the first published African-American poet, Jupiter Hammon, who was born into slavery in 1711 on Long Island. Hammon was first published on Christmas Day with the poem "An Evening Thought" at the age of 49. Hammon is considered one of the founders of African-American literature.
Oregon is the only state to have this day as a state holiday.
Famous black poets include
- Maya Angelou
- Sterling A. Brown
- Lucille Clifton
- Toi Derricotte
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
- Jessie Redmon Fauset
- Angelina W. Grimke
- Jupiter Hammon
- Langston Hughes
- Claude McKay
- Anne Spencer
- Ntozake Shange
- Natasha Trethewey
- Margaret Walker
- Phillis Wheatley (one of the first female black poets)
- Rita Dove - The first African-American poet laureate (1993).