Salute To A Master, Arna Bontemps, A Warrior of Verse
In His Words, My Voice
The salute this morning is dedicated to a magnificent wordsmith, Arna Bontemps, who breathed life into the words of the black experience during the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement. To those who aren’t familiar with some of his published works I will present 7 selected poems in this morning’s In His Words, My Voice. You see “our black history need not ever be a black mystery”.
A close friend of Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, Mr. Bontemps, stood by his principles and forged in his writing the power and strength of the black struggle. He refused to allow the unrelenting negative effects to lessen the degree of defiance he presented in his writings. His book Black Thunder, which was based about the slavery revolt of Gabriel Prosser in Virginia is critically acclaimed now, but of course was rejected when released in 1936. You see, Black Thunder, spoke truth to the illusion that blacks willingly accepted their conditions of enforced servitude.
So today let’s allow a bright shining light on this warrior for literary justice, Arna Bontemps, He also received one of his many honorary degrees bestowed by my own alma mater, Morgan State University in 1969. So, fellow Morgan Bear, I salute you.