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Famous African American Poets | Best Black Poets of All-time

African American Poets and their poems. A list of the top 100 most popular and best famous African American poets. Here are the best and most popular famous African American (Black) poets in history (with their best poetry).

Famous African American Poets

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Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning African American poet. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 8 1928 and died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on May 28, 2014. Angelou was also a dancer, an actress and a singer.



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Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist. He is noted as having been a creator of jazz poetry and as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, an African American cultural movement that occurred during the 1920s and 1930s.

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Tupac Shakur, born in New York City, New York on June 16, 1971, was an American rapper. Shakur sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Rolling Stone Magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time.

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Alice Walker is an American poet, activist, author and feminist. She is one of the most celebrated in modern history. Her most famous work, The Color Purple, won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and it remains one of the bestselling books in the United States.

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Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets who reached prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s.



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Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American woman poet.. African-American poet; 30th US Poet Laureate

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Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theatre group, "The 1960 Masks" and in 1964, the "Orisun Theatre Company", in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor.

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Rita Frances Dove is an American poet and author. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1993, the second African American to be appointed, and received a second special appointment in 1999. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.. American poet and author; US Poet Laureate

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Phillis Wheatley was the first African American female writer to be published in the United States.

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William Edward Burghardt " W. E. B. " Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community. After graduating from Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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Paul Laurence Dunbar was a seminal African American poet of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dunbar gained national recognition for his 1896 "Ode to Ethiopia", one poem in the collection Lyrics of Lowly Life.. African American poet novelist and playwright

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Antwone Fisher was born on August 3, 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA as Antwone Quenton Fisher. He is an award-winning film, literary writer, and director, known for Antwone Fisher (2002), ATL (2006) and This Life of Mine The Leon T. Garr Story (2012). He has been married to LaNette Fisher since December 1, 1996. They have two children. African american.

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Sonia Sanchez is an African American poet most often associated with the Black Arts Movement. She has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as plays and children's books. She was a 1993 Pew Fellowships in the Arts.. African American poet; associated with the Black Arts Movement

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Gilbert "Gil" Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and '80s, and for his collaborative works with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was "bluesologist", which he defined as "a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues". The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.

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James Emanuel (born June 15, 1921 – September 28, 2013) was a poet and scholar from Alliance, Nebraska. Emanuel, who is ranked by some critics as one of the best and most neglected poets of the 20th century, published more than 300 poems, 13 individual books, an influential anthology of African American literature, an autobiography, and more. He is also credited with creating a new literary genre, jazz-and-blues haiku, often read with musical accompaniment.

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Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones October 7, 1934), formerly known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, is an African-American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism. He is the author of numerous books of poetry and has taught at a number of universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received the PEN Open Book Award formerly known as the Beyond Margins Award in 2008 for Tales of the Out and the Gone.

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An American poet from New York.. educator and Poets Laureate of Maryland

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Sherley Anne Williams was born in Bakersfield, California and was an African-American poet. Many of her works tell stories about her life in the African-American community. When she was little her family picked cotton in order to get money. At the age of eight her father died of tuberculosis and when she was sixteen her mother died. In 1966 she earned her bachelors degree in English at what is now California State University at Fresno and she received her master's degree at Brown University in 1972. Her works include collections of poetry such as The Peacock Poems (1975), the novel Dessa Rose (1986), and two picture books. She also published the groundbreaking work Give Birth to Brightness: A Thematic Study of Neo-Black Literature in 1972.

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Countee Cullen was one of the leading American poets of his time and one of the lights of the Harlem Renaissance.. American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance

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Etheridge Knight was an African-American poet who made his name in 1968 with his debut volume, Poems from Prison. The book recalls in verse his eight-year-long sentence after his arrest for robbery in 1960

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Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander (July 7, 1915 – November 30, 1998) was an African-American poet and writer. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, she wrote as Margaret Walker. One of her best-known poems is For My People.. African American writer

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A leading American author, poet, and early civil rights activist.. author poet folklorist and civil rights leader

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Cornelius Eady is an American poet focusing largely on matters of race and society, particularly the trials of the African-American race in the United States. His poetry often centers on jazz and blues, family life, violence, and societal problems stemming from questions of race and class. His poetry is often praised for its simple and approachable language.

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Arnaud "Arna" Wendell Bontemps (October 13, 1902 – June 4, 1973) was an African-American poet, novelist and librarian, and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance .

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Mari Evans (born July 16, 1923 in Toledo, Ohio) is an African-American poet, living in Indianapolis.. African American poet

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