Arna Bontemps was born October 13, 1902, in Alexandria, Louisiana. Bontemps father Paul and mother Maria both had a passion for the arts. While his mother taught public school in the department of painted and drawing, his father enjoyed playing music. Bontemps soon moved to las angeles where is father incouraged his to become a biulder or a worker in stone and to follow in his footsteps. However, Bontemps developed an early interest and love in poetry and litaracy. In 1920 he enrolled at the Pacific Union College ( now called UCLA) and majored in English. He graduating in only three years and continuted to write.
1924- Teacher at Harlem Academy in New York, New York
1931- Teacher at Oakwood Junior College in Huntsville, Alabama
1935- Principal at Shiloh Academy in Chicago
1946- Head Librarian at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee