Art Works Blog

Celebrate Black History Month with Poetry

Today we're celebrating Black History month with a six-pack of poems celebrating historic African-Americans, including Rosa Parks, Billie Holiday, and Frederick Douglass. We were inspired by this round-up put together by our Poetry Out Loud partner, The Poetry Foundation. What's your favorite work of art that pays homage to an icon of Black history? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.  

a line from Angela Jackson's poem about Rosa Parks

Read the entire text of "Miz Rosa Rides the Bus" here.

a line from Rita Dove's poem Canary

Read the entire text of "Canary," Rita Dove's homage to Billie Holiday here

lines from Robert Hayden's poem Frederick Douglass

Read the entirety of Robert Hayden's ode to Frederick Douglass here

Lines from William Matthews' poem Mingust at the Showplace

Read the entire text of William Matthews' poetic remembrance of iconic jazz musician Charles Mingus here

lines from Ma Rainey by Sterling A. Brown

You can find the text of "Ma Rainey," a past Poetry Out Loud favorite, here

lines from Cornelius Eady's poem Nina's Blues

Read all of Cornelius Eady's elegy for Nina Simone here

Interested in more content about historic African Americans? Why not start with our podcast with Daniel Beaty about playing the great actor and singer Paul Robeson?

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