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Countee Cullen and the Harlem Renaissance

            The Harlem Renaissance was a very influential time period that took place in the United States during the 1920s. It was a period of outstanding literary creativity because of the many talented and overacheiving artists that contributed their hardwork that sometimes went on to earn many awards. Among these hardworking artists is a man named Countee Cullen who without knowing it had a major impact on this time period although his ideas usually differed with others.
             Countee Cullen was born Countee Leroy Porter on May 30,1903 in Louisville Kentucky and later raised by his grandmother in New York City. After her death in 1918 when Cullen was 15 Reverend Frederick Cullen and Carolyn Cullen unofficially adopted him. The Reverend lived in Harlem, New York where he was the minister of Salem M.L. Church one of the biggest congregations of Harlem. The Reverend Cullen had helped formed the National Urban League and served as president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). (Goetz 780).
             Cullen's biological mother never tried to contact him until he became famous in the 1920's.while in school he won a citywide poetry contest and then saw his stanzas widely reprinted. He later won several other poetry contests as a young man in high school and throughout college. Among the prizes won by Cullen there were Phi Beta Kappa honors and the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize. This specifically encouraged him to pursue a literary career. (Cayne 210).
             When Cullen finally graduated from New York University in1925 his first collections of poems, COLOR, was published. The book was carefully written in a traditional style and celebrated black beauty but denounced the effects of racism. This book also included "Heritage" which was one of his most famous poems. While attending Harvard he worked as an assistant editor for Opportunity magazine where his column, The Dark Tower, boosted his literacy reputation.

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