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Countee P. Cullen

1903 – He was born 30 March , but it has been difficult for scholars to place exactly where he was born, with whom he spent the very earliest years of his childhood, and where he spent them. New York City and Baltimore have been given as birthplaces.

1918 – Cullen was adopted by the Reverend Frederick A. and Carolyn Belle (Mitchell) Cullen.

1921 – He became Countee P. Cullen and eventually just Countee Cullen.

1918 – 1921 Cullen was an outstanding student at DeWitt Clinton High School . He edited the school’s newspaper, assisted in editing the literary magazine, Magpie, and began to write poetry that achieved notice. While in high school Cullen won his first contest, a citywide competition, with the poem “I Have a Rendezvous with Life,” a nonracial poem inspired by Alan Seeger’s “I Have a Rendezvous with Death.”

1925-1927 – After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from NYU, Cullen earned a masters degree in English and French from Harvard

1928 – On 9 April married Yolande Du Bois, only child of W E. B. Du Bois, in one of the most lavish weddings in black New York history.

1930 – He  & Yolande divorced.

1946 – Died January 9th from high blood pressure and uremic poisoning .


Cullen won more major literary prizes than any other black writer of the 1920s: first prize in the Witter Bynner Poetry contest in 1925, Poetry magazine’s John Reed Memorial Prize, the Amy Spingarn Award of the Crisis magazine, second prize in Opportunity magazine’s first poetry contest, and second prize in the poetry contest of Palms. In addition, he was the second black to win a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Just some of his works of poetry…

A Brown Girl Dead

From the Dark Tower



Karenge ya Marenge

Lines to My Father

Saturday’s Child

Thoughts in a Zoo

To Certain Critics

Uncle Jim

Yet Do I Marvel