And the Winners Are

by Rachel Baker on March 1, 2009

There were only twenty participates in African American History Book Giveaway, and I wish I could give away a set of books to all twenty of you.  This was such a difficult giveaway to pick two winners from because all of the people in the answers are extremely inspirational.  So, I chose two I didn’t know much about.

Without further ado, the winners of the African American History Book Giveaway are: cmcwaters (Langston Hughes) and jewel33 (Daisy Bates) Congratulations to both of you!

I knew Hughes was a poet, however, I didn’t know of some of his cultural impacts on our society. This one is impressive! “As one of the founders of the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, which he practically defined in his essay, ‘The Negro Artist and the Radical Mountain’ (1926), he was innovative in his use of jazz rhythms and dialect to depict the life of urban blacks in his poetry, stories, and plays. “

Daisy Bates was quite impressive – Every hear of the Little Rock Nine? “In 1957, she helped nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, who became known as the Little Rock Nine.”

I have included the biography for each of these people for your viewing pleasure. 

(James Mercer) Langston Hughes Biography (1902 – 1967)
in full James Mercer Langston Hughes

Poet, writer, playwright.Born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. After publishing his first poem, ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ (1921), he attended Columbia University (1921), but left after one year to work on a freighter, travelling to Africa, living in Paris and Rome, and supporting himself with odd jobs. After his poetry was promoted by Vachel Linday, he attended Lincoln University (1925–9), and while there his first book of poems, The Weary Blues (1926), launched his career as a writer.

As one of the founders of the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, which he practically defined in his essay, ‘The Negro Artist and the Radical Mountain’ (1926), he was innovative in his use of jazz rhythms and dialect to depict the life of urban blacks in his poetry, stories, and plays. Having provided the lyrics for the musical Street Scene (1947) and the play that inspired the opera Troubled Island (1949), in the 1960s he returned to the stage with works that drew on black gospel music, such as Black Nativity (1961).

A prolific writer for four decades, he abandoned the Marxism of his youth, but never gave up protesting the injustices committed against his fellow African Americans. Among his most popular creations was Jesse B Semple, better known as ‘Simple’, a black Everyman featured in the syndicated column he began in 1942 for the Chicago Defender.

In his later years, Hughes completed a two-volume autobiography and edited anthologies and pictorial volumes. Because he often employed humour and seldom portrayed or endorsed violent confrontations, he was for some years disregarded as a model by black writers, but by the 1980s he was being reappraised and was newly appreciated as a significant voice of African Americans.

Source: http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9346313

Daisy Bates Biography (1914-1999)

Civil rights activist, writer, publisher. Born Daisy Lee Gatson on November 11, 1914, in Huttig, Arkansas. Bates’s childhood was marked by tragedy. Her mother was sexually assaulted and murdered by three white men and her father left her. She was raised by friends of the family.

As a teenager, Bates met Lucious Christopher “L. C.” Bates, an insurance agent and an experienced journalist. The couple married in the early 1940s and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. Together they operated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African-American newspaper. The paper championed civil rights, and Bates joined in the civil rights movement. She became the president of Arkansas chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1952.

As the head of the NAACP’s Arkansas branch, Bates played a crucial role in the fight against segregation. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court declared that school segregation was unconstitutional in the landmark case known as Brown v. Board of Education. Even after that ruling, African American students who tried to enroll in white schools were turned away in Arkansas. Bates and her husband chronicled this battle in their newspaper.

In 1957, she helped nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, who became known as the Little Rock Nine. The group first tried to go to the school on September 4. A group of angry whites jeered at them as they arrived. The governor, Orval Faubus, opposed school integration and sent members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the school. Despite the enormous amount of animosity they faced from white residents of the city, the students were undeterred from their mission to attend the school.

Bates’ home became the headquarters for the battle to integrate Central High School and she served as a personal advocate and supporter to the students. President Dwight D. Eisenhower became involved in the conflict and ordered federal troops to go to Little Rock to uphold the law and protect the Little Rock Nine. With U.S. soldiers providing security, the Little Rock Nine left from Bates’ home for their first day of school on September 25, 1957. Bates remained close with the Little Rock Nine, offering her continuing support as they faced harassment and intimidation from people against desegregation.

Bates also received numerous threats, but this would not stop her from her work. The newspaper she and her husband worked on was closed in 1959 because of low adverting revenue. Three years later, her account of the school integration battle was published as The Long Shadow of Little Rock. For a few years, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Democratic National Committee and on antipoverty projects for the Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

Bates returned to Little Rock in the mid-1960s and spent much of her time on community programs. After the death of her husband in 1980, she also resuscitated their newspaper for several years, from 1984 to 1988. Bates died on November 4, 1999, Little Rock, Arkansas.

For her career in social activism, Bates received numerous awards, including an honorary degree from the University of Arkansas. She is best remembered as a guiding force behind one of the biggest battles for school integration in the nation’s history.

Source: http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=206524

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