(This national AP story by David Sharp was in over 100 papers last week - and has already led to 3 new poets' graves!) Roanoke Times — A former teacher who travels the country to document the final resting places of poets is looking forward to calling attention to African-American poets on a tour of the South and elsewhere.
Black poets have been writing about injustice and hardship since the days of slavery, and the theme rings true today, given the recent unrest surrounding police killings of black men, Walter Skold said.
"African-American poets have been going through the same turmoil. They've been right there. They've chronicled the great sorrows and successes that African-Americans have had," he said.
Fifteen African-American poets include Albery Whitman, who was born a slave, spoke out against the treatment of the Seminoles in Florida and was dubbed the "poet laureate of the Negro race." He's buried in Atlanta. Others include Arna Bontemps, a Louisiana-born poet who was part of the Harlem Renaissance and is buried in Nashville, Tennessee; Robert Charles Benjamin, who's buried in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was shot in 1900 while trying to get blacks to register to vote; and Melvin Tolson, Liberia's poet laureate, buried in Guthrie, Oklahoma. (read more at Press Page)