Jun. 4, 2019
Salute To The Master Arna Bontemps, June 4, 1973
The salute this evening is dedicated to a magnificent wordsmith, Arna Bontemps, a brother of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, on this date June 4, 1973, he passed away. I could also say that Ancestor Arna Bontemps was also a fellow alumnus of my alma mater, Morgan State University since he received an honorary degree in May 1969.
Arna Bontemps breathed life into many powerful written words that detailed black experiences during the Harlem Renaissance and this country's civil rights movement. To those who aren’t familiar with some of his published works, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud will read 7 specially selected poems in this evening saluting the greatness of Arna Bontemps as I salute the day of his passing 46 years ago today. To my black greek family, we honor a brother who inspired and educated many of our ancestors. To the remaining black community, we honor a brilliant, intellectual giant of prose, this evening.
Arna Bontemps was a personal close friend to both Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, Mr. Bontemps, all stood by his principles throughout his life. He forged in his writings the power and strength of the black struggle. He refused to allow the unrelenting negative effects to lessen the degree of defiance that was forever present in his writings. In his most famous book Black Thunder which centered on the slave revolt of Gabriel Prosser in Virginia in 1800. The novel was critically acclaimed after many years of being ignored because of the subject matter. It may have been too confrontational for Jim Crow'ed America when it was released initially in 1936 but it was right on time during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s'. You see, Black Thunder, spoke truth to the illusion that blacks willingly accepted their conditions of enforced servitude.
So tonight visit my blog and listen to his majestic words and let’s allow some bright shining light on this warrior for literary justice, Arna Bontemps. In addition, take a chance and visit an old bookstore and read Black Thunder. It is indeed a powerful statement of black personal defiance.