Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Women Writers Born between 1928-1939

Black women writers born between 1928 and 1939 have had an extraordinary influence on American and African American literature and artistic culture. Consider, for instance, the following 10 figures:

Maya Angelou 1928
Paule Marshall 1929
Lorraine Hansberry 1930 – 1965
Toni Morrison 1931
Audre Lorde 1934 – 1992
Sonia Sanchez 1934
June Jordan 1936 – 2002
Lucille Clifton 1936 – 1995
Jayne Cortez 1936
Toni Cade Bambara 1939 – 2010

I have been fascinated for a while now with black writers born during the 1930s and their many accomplishments and many influencese, especially in regards to artistic culture. I wrote about the large numbers of influential black poets born during the late 20s up through the early 1940s.

The writers listed above and their artistic creations have become widely known known and respected over the years. There are certainly popular and talented black women writers born prior to 1928 and after 1939. No question. Still, it is difficult to identify a group of ten or so other writers born outside of that 1928 - 1939 time-frame who have collectively achieved as much and become so widely known.

But so what? Given the large numbers of writers out there in the world, identifying a single decade tells us very little about the overall ups and downs of African American literary artists, right? Still, noting the large numbers of influential black writers to emerge in a common time period is significant for various reasons.

For one, it gives us one (of many) starting places when considering developments in African American literary history. It also allows us to begin with an important factor (birth year) and start adding other factors that might help us understand how some groups of writers become more known.  Finally, we can eventually look at writers from other decades and figure out how their life narratives and artistic works correspond to and differ from those born during the 1930s. 

Birth Years & Age Matters 

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