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Countee Cullen And The Harlem Renaissance

1113 words - 4 pages

Countee Cullen, was one amongst many in a life of accomplishments. He received many awards and was recognized for much of his work. Cullen was a very good writer during his career. Cullen was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a literary movement associated with African American writers in New York City in the 1920's. Though primarily a poet who wrote in standards forms, Cullen also wrote a novel, plays, and children's literature.
Countee Cullen was born on May 30,1903.Countee Cullen was very secretive about his life. According to sources he was born in Louisville Kentucky or Baltimre, and given the name Countee Leroy Lucas at birth. Cullen’s mother name was Elizabeth Lucas. In 1918 Cullen was sent to live with his paternal grandmother Elizabeth Porter in Harlem, New York. Countee Cullen was unofficially adopted by Frederick Asbury Cullen, a minister of Harlem’s Salem Methodist Episcopal Church and his wife Carolyn Belle Cullen. Cullen attended De Witt Clinton High School. He was the chairman of the senior publications committee. In High school he edited the school’s weekly newspaper, The Clinton News, The schools literary magazine, and The Magpie. (Cullen 1).
Countee Cullen attended the University of new York receiving his bachelor’s degree in literature from 1922 to 1925. He was also elected to Phi Betta Kappa. From 1925 to 1926 Cullen earned his master’s degree in English from Harvard University. In 1928, Countee Cullen married Yolande Du Bois, the daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois. They lived in France on a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1930, Countee Cullen and Yolande separated and eventually divorced. The marriage lasted only a year. In 1934, Cullen took a position as a French and English teacher at Frederick Douglass Junior High School in New York City. In 1940, Cullen married Ida Mae Richardson the daughter of Mary Eliza Cottle Roberson and John Morgan Roberson. Cullen was influenced by the works of John Keats, which was his Cullen's favorite poet. (Beetz, Kirk 202)
The year of 1925, Countee Cullen began to publish his poems. Cullen's first collection of poems where "color". His first poem " The Ballad of a Brown girl" in 1925 was published followed by his poem " An Old Ballad Retold". From 1926 to 1928 Cullen was a assistant editor of opportunity, a journal of Negro Life. Cullen wrote a popular column called " The Dark Tower". In 1928 Cullen received a Guggenheim fellowship to write poetry in France. Cullen published " The Black Christ " but was disappointed that it did not receive the reviews he was used to. He is one of the few black writers to have also written children's books. Two of his children books are " The Lost Zoo" and "Christopher Cat". In 1934 Cullen's only novel " One Way to Haven" was published. Cullen was working on a musical titled "St. Louis Woman" up until his death.(Beetz, Kirk 202) (William, Jasmine 28)
Cullen received the second prize in the "Writter Bynner undergraduate poetry contest" twice. He wins the first prize...

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