Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen

Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA
Death 9 Jan 1946 (aged 42)
Harlem, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 8850237 · View Source
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Poet, Author. Born Countee Porter, at age 15 he was unofficially adopted by the Reverend F.A. Cullen, minister of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, one of Harlem, New York City, New York's largest church congregations. Attending Harvard University, he earned his masters degree in 1926, and quickly became one of the major contributors to the 1920s literary movement known as the "Harlem Renaissance". He won more major literary prizes than any other African-American writer of the 1920s: first prize in the Witter Bynner Poetry contest in 1925, Poetry magazine's John Reed Memorial Prize, the Amy Spingarn Award of the Crisis magazine, second prize in Opportunity magazine's first poetry contest, and second prize in the poetry contest of Palms. In addition, he was the second African-American to win a Guggenheim Fellowship. Cullen was also at the center of one of the major social events of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1929, he published "The Black Christ And Other Poems" to less than his accustomed glowing reviews. He was bitterly disappointed that "The Black Christ," his longest and in many respects most complicated poem, was considered by most critics and reviewers to be his weakest and least distinguished. For many years after his death, Cullen's reputation was eclipsed by that of other Harlem Renaissance writers, particularly Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and his work had gone out of print. However, renewed interest in his life and works at the end of the 20th Century revived his reputation. Cullen collaborated with Arna Bontemps on his novel "Gods Sends Sunday," which later became first a play and then a musical entitled "St. Louis Woman." This production went to Broadway in 1946 and had a successful run. Cullen died of uremic poisoning a few months before it opened. The 136th Street Branch of The New York Public Library is named in his honor.

Bio by: MC

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: MC
  • Added: 30 May 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8850237
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Countee Cullen (30 May 1903–9 Jan 1946), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8850237, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .