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Articles > Holidays > Black Poetry Day: History and Celebration

Black Poetry Day: History and Celebration

Celebrating our heritage is something we should all do. No matter what our skin color, race, nationality, or culture, we should be proud of where we came from and how we got to where we are today. Everyone's past has failures and perseverance and it's important to celebrate it.

Black Poetry Day is one of those special days where celebration should be a must. Blacks all around the world have contributed so much to the genre that a day was needed to help. The day helps show how important this group of people have been to literature.

Black Poetry Day is celebrated on October 17 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. Of course, if you prefer to celebrate your favorite black modern poets (such as whatever rapper is headlining the current genre), that's great too.

As poets and readers, we should spend this day appreciating black 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 birthday 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.

Even though this day is celebrated throughout the world, especially within the United States, Oregon is the only state to have it 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).

However, this list is not extensive and there are many other important black authors. Actually, there are too many to count and list within this article. Rappers, for example, have played one of the largest poet roles in history with the creation of a brand new musical sound while bringing hip hop culture to the masses around the world. Black poets have influenced millions, if not billions, of people worldwide. This is why the day should be celebrated and supported around the world.