Top Ten Videos to watch

Kym Whitley
Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
Donald Trump's 'Crippled America' Book Press Conference
New Hampshire Primaries
TV One At The 47th NAACP Image Awards
Donald Trump Holds Rally In Biloxi, Mississippi
Behind bars
47th NAACP Image Awards Presented By TV One - Press Room
A Man Operating A Tv Camera
Maurice White
March2Justice
'News One Now' With Roland Martin Taping
Bill Cosby
Activists In Los Angeles Gather To Burn Likenesses Of The Confederate Flag
Flint Firebirds V Windsor Spitfires
CBC Message To America: Rep. Conyers Addresses The Damage Inflicted On Our Communities By Poverty, Mass Incarceration And Lack Of Economic Development
Iowa Caucus Ted Cruz
NewsOne Now NAACP Image Awards Preview
Student sitting at a desk in a classroom
Rahm Emanuel Announces Police Accountability Task Force As CPD Chief Is Fired
Slavery Stock image
The 16th Annual Wall Street Project Gala Fundraising Reception
Ava DuVernay
Roland Martin Blasts Stacey Dash For Comments About BET, Black Networks
President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address At U.S. Capitol
Ava DuVernay
2016 North American International Auto Show
Democratic National Committee Presidential Primary Debate
88th Oscars Nominations Announcement
Leave a comment

countee cullen biography

Countee Cullen (pictured), a poet who rose to fame during the Harlem Renaissance, was a contemporary of famed writer Zora Neale Hurston. Cullen amassed an impressive body of work in a short period of time, moving to becoming a teacher for the latter part of his career. Cullen died on this day in New York in 1946 at the young age of 42.

SEE ALSO: Celebrated Writer Zora Neale Hurston Was Born Today In 1891

The details of Cullen’s early life are murky, with many scholars agreeing he was born around May 30, 1903. His place of birth has also been a mystery, with claims that he was either born in Lexington, Ky.; New York; or Baltimore, Md. It appears, however, that Cullen claimed New York as his place of birth, which is where he also found his footing as a writer and poet.

As a teenager, Cullen came under the care of Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, the pastor of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. Cullen would later lead the Harlem chapter of the NAACP. Influenced by the happenings around him, Cullen excelled in high school and entered in to New York University after graduating in 1922.

Honing his writing and speaking abilities in high school, Cullen found notoriety at NYU after winning the Witter Byner undergraduate poetry contest in 1923, which was sponsored by the Poetry Society of America. Coming in at second place, Cullen would continue to pen works that were published nationally in a series of poetry publications. In 1925, Cullen won the Witter Byner first place prize, the same year he eventually entered in to Harvard University.

Race formed the theme of Cullen’s first published work, “Colors,” and was released while he pursued his Master’s degree in English. The book featured two of Cullen’s most-notable poems in “Heritage” and “Incident.”

After graduating from Harvard in 1926, Cullen’s professional career began. It was a turbulent time for Cullen, who worked furiously on a series of poetry collections while editing the popular Caroling Dusk collection as well. In 1928, he received a Guggenheim to write poetry in France and then married Nina Yolande DuBois, the daughter of W. E. B. DuBois.

After 1930, Cullen’s work as a poet began to shrink and he focused instead on teaching French and English at New York’s Fredrick Douglass Junior High School. Cullen still wrote, penning his only novel, “One Way To Heaven,” which was published in 1932. Cullen wrote and translated works for the theater and also released a pair of written works for young readers.

Cullen’s last work during his life was a project he embarked upon with fellow poet and writer Arna Bontemps. Both men had a hand in the Black Renaissance, and they were working on a stage adaptation of of Bontemp’s “God Sends Sunday” novel that was slated for a March 1946 release. The play spawned the work “St. Louis Woman,” starring Pear Bailey.

Cullen did not live to see the play, dying from uremia and complications from high blood pressure. He was survived by his second wife, Ida Mae Roberson.

A year after his untimely passing, a collection of works by Cullen was released; “On These I Stand: An Anthology of the Best Poems of Countee Cullen”  is still considered by poetry students as a standard introduction to Cullen’s written work.

Cullen was not as known as some of his contemporaries, but a recent uptick in interest in his work has occurred. In 2012, Charles Molesworth released the biography, “And Bid Him Sing.”

SEE ALSO: Sammy Younge Killed For Using Whites-Only Bathroom On This Day In 1966

Also On News One: