Black Writers and Authors that have changed the history of writing.
Black people have been suppressed for far too long, their voices, their efforts, and their achievements go unnoticed far too many times. Today, I’m going to be telling you a bit more about black authors and writers that changed our (the writing community’s) history. You may have already heard quite a few of these names, but do you know of their contribution to our history? Read on to find out.
On August 2, 1924, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century was born. He reached heights of literary genius while exploring racial and social issues in a lot of his works. He was notorious for writing about his experience as a black male in America.
He was found to be very gifted at writing during his school years. He attended high school DeWitt Clinton High School and worked on his school’s magazine with the now-famous photographer Richard Avedon.
“Go Tell It on the Mountain.”
Baldwin’s first novel was published in 1953 and was loosely based on his personal life. It focused on the life of a young man growing up in Harlem, New York and tackling father issues and religion.
“Mountain is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else. I had to deal with what hurt me the most. I had to deal, above all, with my father,” Baldwin said later.
Baldwin was one of the top writers of his time, but it was his essays that earned him this title.
Delving into his own life, he provided an unflinching look at the black experience in America through such works as Notes of a Native Son (1955) and Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961).
Nobody Knows My Name hit the bestsellers list, selling more than a million copies. While not a marching or sit-in style activist, Baldwin emerged as one of the leading voices in the Civil Rights Movement for his compelling work on race.
“The Fire Next Time.”
In 1963, the collection of Baldwin’s essays was published with its purpose being the education of white Americans on what it means to be black. Also in the essays was a chance for the white Americans to see themselves through an African-American POV. It sold over a million copies.
“There is not another writer — white or black — who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South,” Time said about his feature that year.
Born on April 4, 1928, Maya/Marguerite Annie Johnson was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and a 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. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.
Her most notable works include her series of 7 autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and adult life.
Angelou published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. It became an instant bestseller and stayed on the New York Times paperback bestseller list for the next two years. Nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, it is considered her most famous work. In 2011, Time magazine ranked it as one of the most influential books of modern times.
Maya’s influential writing career included poetry, plays, and screenplays. She was a prominent poetess, her volume of Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, she was also chosen by US president Bill Clinton to read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during his induction in 1993.
Paul Beatty was born on June 9, 1962. He is an American author and poet. He has published 2 poetry books and 4 fiction books.
His most notable work is “The Sellout.” The Sellout was awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, and the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Beatty is the first American to have won the Man Booker Prize, for which all English-language novels became eligible in 2014.
In 1990, Beatty was crowned the first-ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. One of the prizes for winning the championship title was the book deal that resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Take Little Bank (1991). This was followed by another book of poetry, Joker, Joker, Deuce (1994), and appearances performing his poetry on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry). In 1993, he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
His awards include:
· 2009 Creative Capital Award for Slumberland
· 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction), winner for The Sellout.
· 2016 Man Booker Prize winner for The Sellout.
· 2017 International Dublin Literary Award long-list for The Sellout
Black people have contributed their heart and soul to our community, and yet we still do not acknowledge their efforts. I ran short of words as well as time, please let me know if you would like to see a part two of this. I could not cover all of their incredible achievements, but I tried my best to do so.