Arna Bontemps, Arnaud Wendell Bontemps

Arna Bontemps (Photo in the public domain)

Poet, novelist, and librarian Arna Bontemps (1902–1973), who was born Arnaud Wendell Bontemps in Alexandria, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles, California, was a schoolteacher in Harlem, New York (and later in Huntsville, Alabama), and became a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance. From his first poem published in The Crisis Magazine in 1924 to his children's stories in 1934 and his collections and reprints in the 1960s, he remains one of the most prolific among African-American writers. Because of his work as librarian at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, he is credited with being a significant preserver of the documents of black culture and history. His books include Black Thunder: Gabriel's Revolt: Virginia 1800, The Old South, Free at Last: The Life of Frederick Douglass, and God Sends Sunday: A Novel.

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