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October 17

Black Poetry Day is celebrated.

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Black Poetry Day is celebrated.

Grades 1 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Holiday & School Celebration





On this day, Jupiter Hammon, the first African American to publish poetry in the United States, was born in Long Island, New York, in 1711. In honor of Hammon's birth, we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans to the world of poetry.




Traditionally, Black Poetry Day is celebrated with a poetry reading that focuses on the works of African American poets.

To celebrate the day in your classroom, gather books and bookmark webpages that focus on the works of African American poets (see the Websites listed below). Introduce the project by explaining the significance of the day. Then invite students to explore the available resources and ask each to choose a poem that he or she will contribute to the poetry reading. Ask students to share their poems and the reasons for their selections. On the day of the official poetry reading, invite students to stand and read their poetry selections aloud. If desired, students can copy the poems and collect them for a class anthology that commemorates the event.



  • A Brief Guide to the Harlem Renaissance

    This essay from the Academy of American Poets features poets of the Harlem Renaissance, with links to additional information and samples of their work.


  • Jupiter Hammon, the Father of African American Poetry

    Jupiter Hammon’s first published work, an 88-line broadside, came out in Hartford, Connecticut in 1760—when Phillis was only 7 years old and 10 years before her first broadside publication, entitled "Elegy on the Death of Whitefield."


  • AfroPoets.net-Famous Black Writers

    This site includes biographical information for dozens of African American poets. Also included are links to each poet's work.


  • Poet Heroes

    This section of the My Hero website offers information about a number of multicultural poets, including several important classical and contemporary African American poets.



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Grade   9  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A Harlem Renaissance Retrospective: Connecting Art, Music, Dance, and Poetry

Students research, evaluate, and synthesize information about the Harlem Renaissance from varied resources, create an exhibit, and highlight connections across disciplines (i.e., art, music, and poetry) using a Venn diagram.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni's "Nikki-Rosa"

Students explore what Carol Jago calls the place "where life and art intersect" by reading Nikki Giovanni's poem, "Nikki-Rosa," and then writing about childhood memories of their own.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Discovering a Passion for Poetry With Langston Hughes

Through a study of Langston Hughes' poetry, students connect his writing to his place in history.


Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Poetry Portfolios: Using Poetry to Teach Reading

Teach your students about sentence structure, rhyming words, sight words, vocabulary, and print concepts using a weekly poem.


Grades   4 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Talking Poetry with Blabberize

Students will be motivated to share their poetry through an online tool the features recording and animation.