Jan 9, 2009

Countee Cullen

(Wikipedia) - Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903–January 9, 1946) was an American Romantic poet. Cullen was one of the leading African American poets of his time, associated with the generation of black poets of the Harlem Renaissance. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Countee Cullen on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
Cullen was born with the name Countee LeRoy Porter and was abandoned by his parents at birth... He was raised by his grandmother, Mrs. Porter, but because he was very secretive about his life, it is unclear where he was actually born. He may have been born in New Orleans, LA according to the book "Countee Cullen's Secret Revealed by Miracle Book" by Shirley Porter Washington however, scholars state he was either born in Louisville, Kentucky, or Baltimore. Continued

INCIDENT by Countee Cullen

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Photo: Countee Cullen in Central Park, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, June 20, 1941 (Library of Congress).