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Claude McKay

Claude McKay
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Berenice Abbott, 17 Jul 1898 - 9 Dec 1991
Claude McKay, 15 Sep 1889 - 22 May 1948
Gelatin silver print
Image: 16.5 x 12.3cm (6 1/2 x 4 13/16")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6cm (18 x 14")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Berenice Abbott/Getty Images
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Sunny Ville, Jamaica
While Langston Hughes was austere and cerebral in his manner and verse, his contemporary Claude McKay was a more flamboyant character; he was also more political. Born in Jamaica, McKay won a college scholarship and immigrated to America, where he also began publishing poetry, frequently under a pseudonym. By 1921 he was editing two radical newspapers, doing other political work (including traveling to Moscow to meet Lenin), and publishing his first major collection of poems, Harlem Shadows (1921). McKay’s poetry was frequently overtly political, treating racism and outrages such as lynching with a plain sense of grievance and redress. His work helps mark the entry of African Americans into both the cultural and political history of American society.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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