February 25th in African American History – Robert Hayden

Robert HaydenFebruary 25, 1980 Robert Hayden, the first African American Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress, died.

Born Asa Bundy Sheffey on August 4, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, Hayden earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Detroit City College (later renamed Wayne State University) in 1942.

Hayden published his first book of poetry, “Heart-Shape in the Dust,” in 1940 and he gained international recognition in 1966 when he was awarded the grand prize for poetry at the First World Festival of Negro Arts for his book “Ballad of Remembrance.”

In 1976, he was appointed Consultant in Poetry (later renamed Poet Laureate) to the Library of Congress.

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