I, Too, Sing America
Three Centuries of African American Poetry
Publication Date: October 1, 1998
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Catherine Clinton earned her undergraduate degree in Afro-American studies from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in history from Princeton. She is the author of many historical works for children and adults, including I, TOO, SING AMERICA: THREE CENTURIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY, and has taught African American Studies at Brandeis University, Brown University, and at Harvard University, where she is a fellow at the Dubois Institute. Dr. Clinton lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons.
A splendid, rattling good collection of African-American poetry. Represented are 25 poets (and 35 poems), some of whom are household namesW.E.B. Du Bois, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, and Langston Hughes. There are examples of the influential Harlem Renaissance poets -- Angelina Weld Grimk, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jean Toomer, for example -- and the first known poem composed by an African-American, Lucy Terry's Bars Fight.' The brimming anger of James M. Whitfield comes through, along with the injustice of lines that had to be transcribed by others because African-Americans were denied by law the right to put poetry to paper. Clinton includes short biographical sketches and critical snippets on every poet, and these only further the impact of the tragic, warm, sad, and ferocious voices of great presence that survived beyond all odds. Alcorn's elegant illustrations have an expressiveness that honors the words.