Holiday & School Celebration

Black Poetry Day is celebrated.

October 17
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.


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’s first published work, an 88-line broadside, came out in Hartford, Connecticut in 1760—when Phillis was only 7 years old and 10 years before her first broadside publication, entitled "Elegy on the Death of Whitefield."


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


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


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