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Travis Nichols

Travis Nichols

Posted: February 3, 2010 04:43 PM

Great Poems for Black History Month

The Huffington Post's "Books" page is celebrating Black History Month with recommendations from Baratunde Thurston that range from how best to explore a "post-racial" society, to why this site should change its name to "The Blackington Post."

To supplement this advice from the vigilante pundit, I humbly offer a brief selection of classic and contemporary poems from the Poetry Foundation archive that explore and celebrate the rich tradition of African-American poetry. These poems range from the familiar (Langston Hughes' "I, Too") to the emergent (Thulani Davis' "skinny-dippin' in the gene pool"), and they're doubtlessly only a fraction of what has been studied, celebrated, and recited over the years. In any case, February is a great excuse to showcase them and to talk about other poems that celebrate and explore African-American history.

Do you have favorites that I've forgotten to mention? If so, please offer up your favorite selections in the comments section below, and in the meantime, stay tuned to Baratunde's twitter feed for more February suggestions.

American Income
Afaa Michael Weaver
Unholy Women
Chris Abani
Nina's Blues
Cornelius Eady
Rita Dove
Ma Rainey

Sterling A. Brown

Praise Song for the Day
Elizabeth Alexander
Harryette Mullen
Caged Bird
Maya Angelou
A Negro Love Song
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Beautiful Black Men
Nikki Giovanni
Booker T. and W.E.B.
Dudley Randall
Take Me Out to the Go-Go

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Yet Do I Marvel
Countee Cullen

My Country 'Tis of Thee

W.E.B. Du Bois

I, Too

Langston Hughes

Harlem Shadows

Claude McKay

Georgia Dusk

Jean Toomer


Michael S. Harper


Natasha Trethewey

Gwendolyn Brooks

Haki Madhubuti


Kevin Young

The Gospel of Barbecue

Honore Fanonne Jeffers

No Images

William Waring Cuney

Lothar's Wife
Colleen J. McElroy
The Birth of John Henry
Melvin B. Tolson
For My People
Margaret Walker
Ode to Big Trend
Terrance Hayes
First Fire
Camille T. Dungy
Alameda Street
Douglas Kearney

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