sonia-sanchez

Sonia Sanchez, 1934 – Present

Sonia Sanchez, 1934 – Present

Sonia Sanchez, 1934 – Present
A poet, activist, and educator, Sonia Sanchez was born in Birmingham, Alabama. In the 1940s, she moved to Harlem to live with her father. She earned a BA in political science in 1955, conducted postgraduate work at New York University, and studied poetry with Louise Bogan. She formed a writers’ workshop in Greenwich Village, which was attended by many prominent Black poets. She also became a member of the Congress for Racial Equality, where she met Malcolm X. In 1965, she began teaching at San Francisco State University, where she led the charge to develop its Black studies curriculum. From 1971 to 1976, she was a member of the Nation of Islam, but she left the Nation due to its repressive attitudes toward women. A leader in the Black Arts Movement, her poems and plays advocate revolutionary cultural change, celebrate Black voices, and use spelling to capture Black English. Her poetic style melds musical forms like the blues with traditional poetic forms like haiku. Sanchez was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1978-1979. She has taught as a professor at eight universities and lectured at countless more, and she is the author of dozens of books of poetry, plays, songs, and children’s books.

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  1. Sonia Sanchez, 1934 – Present
    A poet, activist, and educator, Sonia Sanchez was born in Birmingham, Alabama. In the 1940s, she moved to Harlem to live with her father. She earned a BA in political science in 1955, conducted postgraduate work at New York University, and studied poetry with Louise Bogan. She formed a writers’ workshop in Greenwich Village, which was attended by many prominent Black poets. She also became a member of the Congress for Racial Equality, where she met Malcolm X. In 1965, she began teaching at San Francisco State University, where she led the charge to develop its Black studies curriculum. From 1971 to 1976, she was a member of the Nation of Islam, but she left the Nation due to its repressive attitudes toward women. A leader in the Black Arts Movement, her poems and plays advocate revolutionary cultural change, celebrate Black voices, and use spelling to capture Black English. Her poetic style melds musical forms like the blues with traditional poetic forms like haiku. Sanchez was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1978-1979. She has taught as a professor at eight universities and lectured at countless more, and she is the author of dozens of books of poetry, plays, songs, and children’s books.

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