Claude Mckay - Lourdes University

Report
CLAUDE MCKAY
By Eric Worthey
BACKGROUND INFO
(SEPTEMBER 15, 1889 – MAY 22, 1948)
was born in Sunny Ville Jamaica, West Indies
 Was the youngest of 11
 Was sent to live and learn from his older
brother, Uriah Theodore McKay by the age of 7
 Developed a passion for poetry and songwriting
by the age of ten
 Moved to the U.S. in 1912 to pursue
professional career and financial gains
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WRITING STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Wrote his first poem at ten years old
 1906 McKay became apprenticed to Old
Brenga (Walter Jekyll)
 Started to embrace African American roots
 Changed writing style to accommodate sit-ins
and rallies
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INFLUENCE
CONT.
attended Tuskegee Institute
 Encountered extreme racism and switch to Kansas
state University
 W. E. B. Du Bois' “Souls of Black Folk”
 In 1914 moved to New York and married Eulalie
Lewars
 Began to write for the NAACP and other civil rights
groups
 Began to have a national name as Civil rights Rep.
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TRANSITION TO LONDON
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McKay published two poems
in 1917 in The Seven Arts
under the pseudonym Eli
Edwards
“If We Must Die” was
published in 1922 in
response to the “Red
Summer”
The poem was reportedly
later quoted by Winston
Churchill during World War II.
founded the semi-secret
revolutionary organization,
the African Blood
Brotherhood
THE RED SCARE AND COMMUNISM
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Formation of secret groups led to red scare among other
activists
Moved to London in the fall of 1919
Became a military atheist
Was accused of joining communist groups due to well known
hatred for American way of government
Becoming disillusioned with communism, McKay embraced
the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, to which
he converted in 1944. He died from a heart attack in
Chicago at the age of 59.
He is regarded as the "foremost left-wing black intellectual of
his age" and his work heavily influenced a generation of
black authors
NOTABLE WORKS

Poetry
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Constab Ballads (1912)
Harlem Shadows (1922)
Selected Poems (1953)
Songs of Jamaica (1912)
The Dialect Poetry of Claude McKay (1972)
The Passion of Claude McKay (1973)
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Prose
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A Long Way from Home (1937)
Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940)
The Negroes in America (1979)
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Letters
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Banana Bottom (1933)
Banjo: A Story Without a Plot (1929)
Gingertown (1932)
Home to Harlem (1928)
My Green Hills of Jamaica (1979)
Trial By Lynching (1977)
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WORKS CITED

Claude McKay." : The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013.

"Claude McKay." - Ask.com Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
<http://www.ask.com/wiki/Claude_McKay>.

"Claude McKay." Claude McKay. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
<http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ZYGcTUh7g

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