Claude McKay & The Renaissance

By Leandro Mejia

Who IS Claude McKay?

Where and when was Claude McKay born and where and when did he die?

Claude McKay was born on September 15, 1889 in Sunny Ville, Jamaica and died on May 22, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

What major contributions did Claude McKay have during the Harlem Renaissance?

Claude McKay was a poet, journalist, essayist, and a fiction writer. During the Harlem Renaissance, he was a MAJOR Literary figure to the African-Americans.

What are some examples of Claude McKay's contributions to the Harlem Renaissance?

During the Harlem Renaissance, Claude contributed in many ways with his poetry that was noted for its lyricism and its powerful statements of black militancy. In 1928, Claude McKay had released his best novel out of the three he wrote. He named the novel "Home To Harlem" which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature. The novel depicted street life in Harlem. Claude McKay had also written many poems about social and political concerns from his perspective as a black man in the United States. In 1919, Claude had written

one of the poems he was most known for, " If We Must Die."

"If We Must Die" Claude McKay poem Harlem Renaissance If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Why was Claude McKay an important person during the Harlem Renaissance?

The Harlem Renaissance was the time of an African-American cultural movement in the 1920's and 1930's that celebrated black traditions, the black voice, and the black ways of life in Harlem. Claude McKay was one of the first significant writers during the Harlem Renaissance era and had promoted spiritual freedom and humanitarian social and political values.

Deeper Thinking

How has Claude McKay affected his community?

During the Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay played an important role. Claude McKay was one of the first, most significant poets and writers. He "gave" a voice to black immigrants and paved a way for black poets and writers to discuss racism and problems they faced in their lives. Claude had also inspired many other future writers and poets.

How would the world be different if Claude McKay was never born?

If Claude McKay was never born, many things would've been very different. Claude McKay played a very important role during the Harlem Renaissance. He inspired many other future poets and writers like Langston Hughes. Claude McKay had also been very important because paved a way for black poets and writers to talk about racism and social and political problems they had in their poems. Without Claude, other poets and writers would have taken a longer time trying to include these topics in their writings.

How has Claude McKay affected me?

After researching Claude McKay, I have learned many things about him and his contributions to the Harlem Renaissance. I've learned many things like he's a poet and a writer, a major literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, inspired many others, and had written a series of poems and a few books that made him very popular.

MLA Citations

1. "Claude McKay." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 6. Detroit: Gale, 1994. Biography in Context. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.


2. Claude McKay." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.


3. "Claude McKay." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.