Manage episode 325746784 series 2885711
BlackFacts.com presents the black fact of the day for April 16.
Birthday of Essex Hemphill.
He was an influential poet, award-winning editor, memorable performance artist, and fearless activist.
Hemphill's first books were the self-published chapbooks "Earth Life" (1985) and "Conditions" (1986).
His poetry evoked the challenges of being black, gay and young in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.
Despite a relatively short literary career, Hemphill became arguably the most critically acclaimed and best known openly gay contemporary African American poet.
He received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and grants from the Pew Charitable Trust Fellowship in the Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Through his writing and editing, Hemphill helped break the silence surrounding Black gay experiences and enabled other African American gay men to find their voices.
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