1913 : Robert Hayden Born, First African American Poet Laureate

August 4, 2022 all-day

On Aug. 4, 1913, poet Robert Hayden was born in Detroit. In 1976, he became the first black American appointed Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress.

Born Asa Bundy Sheffey, Hayden had a tumultuous childhood. Because of his poor vision, he was unable to participate in sports. Instead, he read. Hayden published his first book of poems in 1940.

Hayden’s poetry gained international recognition in the 1960s when he was awarded the grand prize for poetry at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Senegal.

Source: Michigan History magazine

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