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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.

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

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