Literature

A glossary of important Black (African) American individuals from the past and present. A knowledgeable resource for all, brought to you with an artistic touch.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. Adichie, who was born in the city of Enugu in Nigeria, grew up as the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in Enugu State.

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

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James Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America.

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Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka, previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism. He was the author of numerous books of poetry and taught at several universities.

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Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer.

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Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, and she represented New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986).

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright and writer. Hansberry was the first black female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago.

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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

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Zora Hurston

Zora Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an influential author of African-American literature, anthropologist, and filmmaker, who portrayed racial struggles in the early-20th-century American South, and published research on Haitian Vodou.

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Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill

Gwendolyn L. Ifill was an American journalist, television newscaster, and author. In 1999, she became the first woman of African descent to host a nationally televised U.S. public affairs program with Washington Week in Review.

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Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. An active advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

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Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist, best known for her narrative quilts.

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Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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