Countee LeRoy Cullen was one of the leading poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Although there is no real account of his early life, his accomplishments throughout his time was magnificent. During the Harlem Renaissance, he and other writers and poets used their work to empower blacks and talk about the ongoing struggle of blacks. His poem, “Incident”, depicts how overt racism was and how it attacked anyone regardless age or gender.
Born on May 30th, 1903, Countee LeRoy Porter is an African American poet, anthologist, novelist, translator, and children's writer. There is no real account of where he was born and who he lived with in his early childhood. Gerald Early suggest that he later claimed that he was born in Louisville, Kentucky, he listed New York City as his birth place of his college transcript upon enrollment into New York University (Early 705). Sometime around 1918, when he was about fifteen years old, he was taken in by Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, pastor of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, the largest congregation in Harlem at the time. While staying with Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, his name was changed to Countee P. Cullen, later became just Countee Cullen. He attended DeWitt Clinton high school, which was a white dominated from 1918 to 1921. There he became the vice president of his class and also the school newspaper editor. He won several poetry contests at DeWitt Clinton high school. He then attended New York University where he became known as a poet. At New York University, he won the National Writter Bynner Contest for poetry and also contest sponsored by Poetry magazine's John Reed Memorial Prize. That is when he became noticed by Harvard's Irving Babbitt for The Ballad of the Brown Girl. in 1925, after graduation from New York University he was admitted in to Harvard's master program. He knew how to write "white" verse-ballads, sonnets, and quatrains with such genuine skill and compelling power. He was not the first black poet to write such verses, but he was the first to do it with the extensive education he received with the understanding of himself as a poet (Poetry Foundation).
Countee Cullen was awarded the Guggenheim fellowship, the second black to do so, to write poetry in France in 1928. While in France he met and married Nina Yolande DuBois, daughter of W.E.B DuBois. Their wedding was the most lavish wedding amongst blacks and it symbolize the union of the grand black intellectual patriarch and the new breed of younger Negroes who were responsible for much of the excitement of the Harlem Renaissance. Their marriage ended so quickly, they divorced in 1930 (Poetry Foundation). Before his divorce, he published The Black Christ and Other Poems in 1929, this was the longest and most complicated poem he ever composed. Critics said it was his weakest and least distinguished poem (Early, Cullen’s Life and Career)
From the 1930's until his death, he wrote less poetry. His first job was as a French...