was born in Washington, D.C., on May 1st, 1901. He is a poet 'pure sang,' and the most fascinating storyteller. After short periods of teaching at various Universities ( Fisk, Lincoln, Vassar, New School, N.Y.), and working on such projects as the Federal Writers' Project and the Carnegie-Myrdal Study of the Negro, he returned to Washington in 1929 and has since been a Professor of English and an inspiration to students at Howard University. His published books include SOUTHERN ROAD ( Harcourt, N.Y., 1932), a volume of poetry; THE NEGRO IN AMERICAN FICTION ( 1938); NEGRO POETRY AND DRAMA ( 1938).
With Arthur P. Davis and Ulysses Lee he has edited THE NEGRO CARAVAN (first edition 1941), a book of 'writings by American Negroes'.
The following three poems from SOUTHERN ROAD are reprinted by special permission of the author.
When de man
Calls out de las' train
You're gonna ride,
Tell him howdy.
Gather up yo' basket
An' yo' knittin' an' yo' things,
An' go on up an' visit
Wid frien' Jesus fo' a spell.
How to make yo' greengrape jellies,
An' give po' Lazarus
A passel of them Golden Biscuits.
Scald some meal
Fo' some rightdown good spoonbread
Fo' li'l box-plunkin' David.