Robert Hayden, Asa Bundy Sheffey

The birth name of poet, essayist, and educator Robert Hayden (1913–1980), born in Detroit, Michigan, was Asa Bundy Sheffey. His poetry, which reflects his desire for the unity of mankind, includes “Middle Passage,” “Fredrick Douglass,” and “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley,” and his collections include A Ballad of Remembrance and Collected Prose. He was a professor of English at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1976, he became the first African American appointed as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position known today as U.S. Poet Laureate).

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