Black Poetry Day

Prasenjit Das
Mar 21, 2023 By Prasenjit Das
Originally Published on Mar 21, 2023
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
This day is to celebrate the legacy of all those impactful African-American poets.

Where is Black Poetry Day celebrated?

Black Poetry Day is a national event in the United States and is celebrated throughout the country.

Who is Black Poetry Day celebrated by?

Every American poet and literature enthusiast celebrates National Black Poetry Day on October 17 every year.

When did Black Poetry Day first start?

 National Black Poetry Day began in 1985.

Who started Black Poetry Day?

The creator of National Black Poetry Day remains unidentified. However, Stanely A Ransom was the first person to propose a day to celebrate black literature and culture.

This event celebrates the life and works of many black poets throughout American history.

History And Timeline

African-American literature has a long and exciting history. Here, we will see some major historical events that led to the foundation of National Black Poetry Day.

Birth Of Jupiter Hammon

A great African-American poet, Jupiter Hammon, was born in Long Island on October 17, 1711.


First-Known Poem By A Black Poet

Lucy Terry wrote 'Bar Fight' in 1746. This is the first-known work of literature by a black poet. The poem was published much later, in 1855.


First Published Work Of A Black Poet

Jupiter Hammon published his first poem in 1761. 'An Evening Thought: Salvation By Christ With Penitential Cries' became the first published work of literature by a black poet.


Rise Of Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was one of the first African-American poets. Her first poetry came out in 1770. Later, in 1773, she published a volume of poems.


Day To Celebrate Black Heritage

Stanley A Ransom, a folk musician, came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate black heritage.


Traditions And Customs

Black poetry and literature became popular in the United States in the 18th century. In 1761, Jupiter Hammon became the first black poet to publish a literary work.

He published his first poem, 'An Evening Thought: Salvation By Christ With Penitential Cries'. Hammon not only achieved something unprecedented but also became an inspiration for other black authors in the country.

Following this, many black poets started publishing their works. The first one is Phillis Wheatley. She published her first poem in 1770 and her first volume of verses in 1773.

Du Bois was another famous black poet. He studied at Harvard University and became the first African-American to get a doctorate. Later, Du Bois published poems like 'The Song Of The Smoke' and 'Ghana Calls'.

Robert Hayden is the next poet on our list. He was born on August 4, 1913, and went to the University of Michigan.

He was the first African-American to assume the post of Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. He held office for two years, from 1976-1978. As a poet, he is famous for writing 'Those Winter Sundays'.

The next one is Alice Walker. She was the one who first coined the term womanist. In her literary works, she mostly dealt with the suffering and experiences of Black Americans, especially women. She is most popular for her debut poetry collection, 'Once'. She is also the author of 'The Color Purple'.

Lucille Clifton is the former Poet Laureate of Maryland. In addition to that, she has also been the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry twice. In 1980, she received the Juniper Prize for 'Two Headed Woman'. The collection contained some of her best poems.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born on June 7, 1917. Her most celebrated work was 'Annie Allen', a poetry collection. In 1950, she became the first African-American poet to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

The last author on our list is Haki R. Madhubuti. He is the writer of nearly 30 published works. In addition, he is also the recipient of 1991 American Book Award.

In 1967, he co-founded Third World Press, America's oldest independent black publishing house. Over the years, Third World Press has published authors like Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Reminiscing and getting to understand the works of these authors is a great way to follow this tradition.

Ways To Celebrate Black Poetry Day

The best way to celebrate this day is to host a poetry reading. Invite all your friends and acquaintances to this program. Who knows, maybe this poetry reading session will help you discover some underrated poets.

Discovering and supporting aspiring black poets can also be a great way to celebrate this event. Go to a library or a bookstore and read the works of young black poets. If you want, you can also donate to a black literary magazine.

Facts And Stats

  • The people of the United States celebrated National Black Poetry Day for the first time on October 17, 1985.
  • We celebrate National Black Poetry Day on October 17 to honor the birthday of Jupiter Hammon, the first published black poet in the United States.
  • On October 17, 2023, the United States will celebrate the 38th anniversary of National Black Poetry Day.

What is National Black Poetry Day?

It is an American national day to celebrate black literature and culture.


What is the significance of Black Poetry Day?

In addition to celebrating black heritage, National Black Poetry Day also aims to inspire and encourage talented black poets.


Why do people celebrate Black Poetry Day?

People celebrate Black Poetry Day to appreciate the contributions of all African-American writers to the growth of American poetry.


What is the psychological impact of Black Poetry Day?

National Black Poetry Day makes a positive impact on young, aspiring poets. The event encourages them to achieve something great in life.


When Is This Day Celebrated

  • Sunday, October 17, 2021
  • Monday, October 17, 2022
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2023
  • Thursday, October 17, 2024
  • Friday, October 17, 2025

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Written by Prasenjit Das

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Prasenjit Das picture

Prasenjit DasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Having obtained a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature from West Bengal State University - Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College, followed by a Master's degree in English language and literature from Calcutta University, Prasenjit has several years of experience as a content writer, Prasenjit has mastered the art of producing cohesive and coherent copy. To further refine his skills and continuously challenge his creativity, Prasenjit successfully completed the "Introduction to Creative Writing Course" offered by British Council. Outside of his professional pursuits, Prasenjit finds inspiration in engaging in various creative activities, including writing poetry.

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Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

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