Love Poems For Your GirlFriend BiographySource(google.com.pk)
Countee Cullen was perhaps the most representative voice of the Harlem Renaissance. His life story is essentially a tale of youthful exuberance and talent of a star that flashed across the Afro-American firmament and then sank toward the horizon. When his paternal grandmother and guardian died in 1918, the fifteen-year-old Countee LeRoy Porter was taken into the home of the Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, the pastor of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, Harlem's largest congregation. There the young Countee entered the approximate center of black politics and culture in the United States and acquired both the name and awareness of the influential clergyman who was later elected president of the Harlem chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In view of America's racial climate during the 1920s, Harlem was scarcely a serene place, but it was an enormously stimulating milieu for Afro-American intellectuals. The high hopes of the black community for acceptance and equality had turned to disillusionment at the end of World War I, when returning black soldiers all too often experienced unemployment and were otherwise mistreated. Resentment pulsated through black urban centers like Harlem, which had burgeoned during the war as black workers migrated there to fill jobs temporarily vacated by the diversion of white laborers into the military. For the first time in Afro-American history, a black urban consciousness conducive to the flowering of the arts was developing. From Harlem, the largest of the new, densely populated black urban communities in which Cullen was listening and learning burst forth an outpouring of Afro-American arts known as the Harlem Renaissance.
While Cullen's informal education was shaped by his exposure to black ideas and yearnings, his formal education derived from almost totally white influences. This dichotomy heavily influenced his creative work and his criticism, particularly because he did extremely well at the white-dominated institutions he attended and won the approbation of white academia. In high school Cullen earned academic honors that in turn garnered him the posts of vice-president of his class and editor of the school newspaper, as well as prizes for poetry and oratory. His glory continued at New York University, where he obtained first or second prizes in a number of poetry contests, including the national Witter Bynner Contests for undergraduate poetry and contests sponsored by Poetry magazine. Harvard University's Irving Babbitt publicly lauded Cullen's The Ballad of the Brown Girl, and in 1925, which proved a bumper year for the young man's harvest of literary prizes, Cullen graduated from New York University, was accepted into Harvard's masters program, and published his first volume of poetry, Color.
During the next four years Cullen reached his zenith. A celebrated young man about Harlem, he had in print by 1929 several books of his own poems and a collection of poetry he edited, Caroling Dusk, written by other Afro-Americans. His letters from Harvard to his Harlem friend Harold Jackman exuded self-satisfaction and sometimes the snide intolerance of the enfant terrible. The climax of those heady years may have come in 1928. That year Cullen was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to write poetry in France, and he married Nina Yolande DuBois, the daughter of W. E. B. DuBois, a man who for decades was the acknowledged leader of the Afro-American intellectual community. Few social events in Harlem rivaled the magnitude of the latter event, and much of Harlem joined in the festivities that marked the joining of the Cullen and DuBois lineages, two of its most notable families. Because of Cullen's success in both black and white cultures, and because of his romantic temperament, he formulated an aesthetic that embraced both cultures. He came to believe that art transcended race and that it could be used as a vehicle to minimize the distance between black and white peoples.