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Africa, America, and Blessed: <p>Black artist history day 25: American poet Phillis Wheatley.</p> <p>Phillis Wheatley was born in The mid-1700s in West Africa and kidnapped to be sold into slavery when she was about seven or eight. She was bought by the Wheatley family of Boston and, unlike many slaves, was actually taught by her masters to read and write, even providing her scholarship in Greek and Latin classics. She received unprecedented classical education for a girl of any race and certainly for an enslaved person. The Wheatley’s encouraged her to pursue poetry when they saw her talent, and she wrote her first poem at age 14.</p> <p>Her poetry often had religious themes and wrote on a few political topics, including writing King George III a letter praising him for repealing the stamp act. He was a fan of hers, along with George Washington, who invited her to meet with him at his Massachusetts headquarters. Her work was also noticed and re-published by Thomas Paine.</p> <p>Her work became popular in both England and the colonies. She became the first published African-American female poet and was eventually emancipated by the Wheatley family and married to a free black grocer. She had a complicated relationship with slavery, believing it to be overall cruel and in need of abolishment, but at the same time seeing it as a hidden blessing for her personally since she was blessed with kind masters and found Christianity through it. Her relationship with race and Faith is expressed in her poem “On being brought from Africa to America”</p> <p>“Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,<br/> Taught my benighted soul to understand<br/> That there&rsquo;s a God, that there&rsquo;s a Saviour too:<br/> Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.<br/> Some view our sable race with scornful eye,<br/> &ldquo;Their colour is a diabolic dye.&rdquo;<br/> Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,<br/> May be refin&rsquo;d, and join th&rsquo; angelic train.”</p>

<p>Black artist history day 25: American poet Phillis Wheatley.</p> <p>Phillis Wheatley was born in The mid-1700s in West Africa and kidnap...

Black History Month, Church, and Period: EDOM FROM WANT FREEDOM FROM <p>Black history month day 7: Sculptor Selma Hortense Burke.</p> <p>Selma Burke was born in 1900 in Mooresville North Carolina. The 10th child of an AME church minister, she grew up attending a one room segregated schoolhouse and playing with the riverbed clay near her home. This was what first piqued her interest in sculpture. Her mother thought she should pursue a more financially stable career than one as an artist, but her grandmother was a painter and encouraged her interests.</p> <p>Burke attended Winston-Salem University and graduated from St. Agnes Training School for Nurses in Raleigh in 1924. She moved to Harlem to become a private nurse, and it was there that she began a tumultuous relationship with Jamaican poet Claude McKay and was first exposed to the Harlem Renaissance. </p> <p>Twice Burke traveled to Europe in the 1930s. Once on a Rosenwald fellowship to study sculpture in Vienna for a year, and once to study in Paris with Aristide Maillol. One of her most significant works from this period is &ldquo;Frau Keller&rdquo; (1937), a portrait of a German-Jewish woman in response to the rising Nazi threat which would convince Burke to leave Europe later that year.</p> <p>We she returned to the United States, Burke enrolled at Columbia University, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1941.</p> <p>She is pictured here with two of her most famous pieces: A bust of Booker T. Washington, given to Frederick Douglass High School in Manhattan in 1936, and a relief sculpture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that serves as the template for the American dime to this day.</p>

<p>Black history month day 7: Sculptor Selma Hortense Burke.</p> <p>Selma Burke was born in 1900 in Mooresville North Carolina. The 10th ch...

Beautiful, Black History Month, and Books: <p>Black history month black artists edition day 2: American poet, playwright, and novelist Langston Hughes.</p> <p>Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. As a child he grew up in several midwestern small towns. After his father left the family and divorced his mother, he spent most of his time being raised by his maternal grandmother while his mother searched around for work. Through oral tradition his grandmother instilled a sense of pride for his heritage and an appreciation for storytelling. In his autobiography he wrote: &ldquo;I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books—where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas.&rdquo;</p> <p>Langston developed a strong interest in poetry and writing; in grammar school he was elected class poet. He went to school for engineering but soon left due to racial prejudice and his strong attraction to Harlem culture and poetic pursuits. He floated through a few jobs, once even becoming the personal assistant of historian Carter G. Woodson. Eventually his poems called the eye of poet Vachel Lindsay, who helped Hughes publish his first official book of poems. In the mid-1920s, Hughes reenrolled in college, this time at the historically black Lincoln University. There he earned his bachelors degree and attended undergrad classes with future supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall.</p>

<p>Black history month black artists edition day 2: American poet, playwright, and novelist Langston Hughes.</p> <p>Langston Hughes was bor...