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October 17

Black Poetry Day is celebrated.

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Black Poetry Day is celebrated.

Grades 1 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Holiday & School Celebration

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

On this day, Jupiter Hammon, the first African American to publish poetry in the United States, was born in Long Island, New York, in 1711. In honor of Hammon's birth, we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans to the world of poetry.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Traditionally, Black Poetry Day is celebrated with a poetry reading that focuses on the works of African American poets.

To celebrate the day in your classroom, gather books and bookmark webpages that focus on the works of African American poets (see the Websites listed below). Introduce the project by explaining the significance of the day. Then invite students to explore the available resources and ask each to choose a poem that he or she will contribute to the poetry reading. Ask students to share their poems and the reasons for their selections. On the day of the official poetry reading, invite students to stand and read their poetry selections aloud. If desired, students can copy the poems and collect them for a class anthology that commemorates the event.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • A Brief Guide to the Harlem Renaissance

    This essay from the Academy of American Poets features poets of the Harlem Renaissance, with links to additional information and samples of their work.

     

  • Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806?)

    This webpage from Perspectives in American Literature-A Research and Reference Guide provides a biography, a bibliography, and a sample poem by Hammon, the first African American to publish poetry in the U.S.

     

  • AfroPoets.net-Famous Black Writers

    This site includes biographical information for dozens of African American poets. Also included are links to each poet's work.

     

  • Poet Heroes

    This section of the My Hero website offers information about a number of multicultural poets, including several important classical and contemporary African American poets.

     

RELATED RESOURCES

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Take part in the African American Read-In!

Grades   K – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  February 1

Take part in the African American Read-In!

Students come together with family and friends to take part in a read-in of books by African American authors and report their results.

 

Langston Hughes was born in 1902.

Grades   7 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  February 1

Langston Hughes was born in 1902.

Students examine the poem "Dreams" and identify metaphors in each sentence. Groups of students then compose poems with metaphors for dreams.

 

In 1928, Maya Angelou was born.

Grades   7 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  April 4

In 1928, Maya Angelou was born.

After hearing Maya Angelou's poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," students infer information about the speaker and her feelings about America and reflect on how one's life and experiences can influence one's writing.

 

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in 1943.

Grades   1 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  June 7

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in 1943.

Using the poem "My First Memory (of Librarians)," students connect memory, their senses, and the language of poetry.