Poetry over the years has changed quite a bit. Words used today would have never been included in historical literary works. However, times have changed, and thanks to these early poets, Black writers today are free to express themselves with an abundant selection of words.
1. Charlotte Forten Grimké
Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké was an African-American anti-slavery activist, poet, and educator. She grew up in a prominent abolitionist family in Philadelphia. She taught school for years, including during the war to freedmen in South Carolina. Grimke helped her husband in his ministry, helping create important networks in the community, including providing charity and education.
2. Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and playwright during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Dayton, Ohio, to parents who had been enslaved. Dunbar published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper.