Harlem Renaissance

Claude McKay

Biography on Claude McKay

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica on September 15, 1889. Claude was educated not in school but by his older brother who had a library of English novels, poetry, and scientific texts. In 1912 he came to the Untied States and attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but a couple months later he left and attended Kansas State University where he studied agriculture. Also that year he published a book of verse called Songs of Jamaica which were recording his impressions of black life in Jamaica. In 1917 he published two sonnets, called "The Harlem Dancer" & "Invocation". He wrote a variety of subjects from Jamaica to romantic love. During the 20's he developed an interest in Communism. He traveled to Russia and then to France where he met Edna St. Vincent Millay and Lewis Sinclair. In 1934 he came back to The U.S. and moved to Harlem, New York. He dropped Communism and started to focus on the teachings of diverse spiritual & political leaders in Harlem. Claude's poetic achievements & viewpoints in earlier part of the 20's set the tone of Harlem Renaissance. Also he gained deep respect of younger black poets of the time. He then later on died on May 22, 1948.

His Major Contribuations

His major contributions was that with his viewpoints and his poetic achievement in the early 20's that set the tone of the Harlem renaissance. Also he gained the respect of younger black poets of the time. One of those poets was Langston Hughes.