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CrazyFruits13  » WELCOME TO CRAZY FRUITS BOOK CLUB » Claude McKay (September 15, 1889 -May 22, 1948) was an American writer and poet

Claude McKay (September 15, 1889 -May 22, 1948) was an American writer and poet

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At four years old McKay started basic school at the church that he attended. At the age of seven, he was sent to live with his oldest brother, Uriah Theodore, a teacher to be given the best education available. While living with this brother McKay became an avid reader of classical and British literature as well as philosophy science and theology. He started writing poetry at the age of 10.


He was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote four novels: Home to Harlem (1928) a best-seller that won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), Banana Bottom (1933), and in 1941 a manuscript called Amiable With Big Teeth: 


A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem that has not yet been published McKay also authored collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and My Green Hills of Jamaica (published posthumously), and a non-fiction, socio-historical treatise entitled Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His 1922 poetry collection, Harlem Shadows, was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His Selected Poems was published posthumously, in 1953.

McKay was attracted to communism in his early life, but he always asserted that he never became an official member of the Communist Party USA. However, some scholars dispute the claim that he was not a communist at that time, noting his close ties to active members, his attendance at communist-led events, and his months-long stay in the Soviet Union in 1922–23, which he wrote about very favorably. He gradually became disillusioned with communism.

McKay wrote the manuscripts for a book of essays called Negroes in America and three stories published as Lynching in America, both of which appeared first in Russian and were re-translated into English; McKay's original English manuscripts have been lost.When Russia was under the rule of communists led by Lenin he was invited to Russia during the reconstruction of the country, out of the experience of going from one end of the country to the other he wrote one of his most famous poems: "If We Must Die." It was revolutionary and it appealed and gave courage to the minorities' fight against great odds.

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