Black Poetry Day is celebrated on October 17 to recognize and remember the accomplishments of talented African American poets both past and present. All lovers of literature, writers and poets, regardless of race, should definitely like this holiday dedicated to creativity. But, besides this, the historical heritage of the black inhabitants of America and their experience, which they reflected in their works, are recalled.
The creator of the holiday is folk musician Stanley A. Rems, who in 1970 proposed celebrating October 17 as a day dedicated to the literature and culture of the African American population. However, the day was officially established in 1985 to mark the birthday of Hammon, one of the first black American poets.
Jupiter Hammon himself was born in 1711, he was a slave to the Lloyds, who allowed him to be educated. The future writer took advantage of this to create poetry. He published his first work at the age of 50. His poems about slavery became very popular. Jupiter himself supported the idea of the need to encourage black writers, because in those years they rarely received public support, which white artists had.
On the occasion of the holiday, we recall several talented African-American poets:
- Paul Dunbar was also among the first black poets to gain great recognition in the United States: already at the age of 14 he published several of his own poems, the most famous of which is “Sympathy”;
- Langston Hughes is considered the father of jazz poetry: it was he who created such a verse as “When Sue wears red”, which he wrote while still in high school;
- Gwendalyn Brooks won the first Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen, a book of poetry about the life of an African-American girl going through the stages of growing up;
- Ellis Walker wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple, but Ellis also wrote poetry, writing about the experiences of black women;
- Maya Angelou is a contemporary writer who speaks about race, oppression, sex and loss in her poetry: “On the Pulse of the Morning”, she read at Bill Clinton’s inauguration ceremony.
How to celebrate
Black Poetry Day is necessary to support black poets, and, therefore, the best celebration of this day would be to support African American poets. You can purchase a collection of poems by such a writer or share his poems on social networks. You can also make a voluntary donation to a literary magazine, organize a poetry reading, or attend a similar event hosted by others.
When is Black Poetry Day Celebrated in 2022?
Black Poetry Day is devoted to celebrating cheerfulness and fun. It happens annually on October the 17th.