Coleman's writing is centered on racism and the outcast status of living below the poverty line in California, notably her long-time home, Los Angeles. She is the author of 20 books of poetry and prose. Her topics are frequently contentious, and her tone is unrepentant. She has been criticized for her failure to meet the income requirements for food stamps during some of her more prosperous years.
In addition to being a poet, novelist, and journalist, Coleman was also a social justice activist who fought against racial segregation and inequality throughout her life. She was a leading voice in the Black Power movement and helped organize many large protests around Los Angeles.
Coleman began writing poems at an early age and never stopped. By the time she reached high school graduation, she had published several poems in local newspapers. After graduating from Howard University with a degree in English literature, she moved to Los Angeles where she has lived ever since.
During the 1960s, Coleman became one of the leading voices of the Black Power movement in America. She organized many large protests against police brutality and other forms of discrimination faced by African Americans. In 1967, she helped found the Black Panther Party with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. They worked together to bring attention to issues surrounding racism and police violence against black people.
Coleman decided she wanted to learn to fly, but the double stigma of her color and gender meant she'd have to travel to France to do so. Her brother also encouraged her by claiming that French ladies were better to African American women because they could fly.
Bessie Coleman was born on January 11, 1892 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the youngest child of William Coleman, a wealthy tobacco merchant, and his wife Mary Ann, a former slave. The Colemans had seven children in all; three sons and four daughters.
Bessie showed an interest in music from an early age and by the time she was ten years old she was teaching herself how to play the piano. She also loved going to church services where she would sit under the piano and sing along with the organist. It wasn't long before people began noticing her talent, and she started receiving training from local musicians. By the time she was fifteen years old, Bessie Coleman was giving concerts around Louisville with her family's financial support.
In May 1909, Bessie met Dr. James Allen "Jim" Johnson, a prominent black physician who worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. They fell in love and got married later that year. However, the marriage only lasted six months since Jim had already found another woman he wanted to marry.
She was a poet, playwright, editor, music teacher, school principal, and pioneer of Black theater who created more than 200 poems, 40 plays, 30 songs, and edited 100 volumes. She overcame racial and gender hurdles to achieve success in these areas.
Georgia Douglas Johnson was born on January 8, 1872 in New York City. Her mother was white and her father was black. When she was two years old, her family moved to Massachusetts where she grew up. She began writing poetry at the age of 12. A few years later, she wrote her first play when she was 15. This early interest in drama would later become one of her career paths.
After graduating from high school, Johnson went to Howard University where she earned a bachelor's degree in music education. While attending college, she also worked as a teacher of the piano and organ. She continued her education at Boston University, where she received a master's degree in music education.
While studying music education, Johnson decided to write more serious plays instead of musicals. She started out writing for African-American audiences but soon attracted attention from critics and writers who weren't interested in black drama. That is why she decided to create her own brand name by using the last name "Johnson."
In 1905, Johnson founded The Elizabeth Garrett Society, which provides financial support to black women artists.
The former tells the story of a violent relationship between a white man and a black man in 1930s Mississippi, while the latter is based on excursions Taylor had to the South as a youngster with her family. Taylor has received national acclaim for every book she has written on the Logan family. She began publishing novels at the age of 30 when her first novel, The Winding River, was released in 1966.
Mildred was born in Columbus, Ohio but grew up in Washington D.C. Her father was a doctor who worked for the government during World War II and her mother was a homemaker. When she was six years old, the Taylors moved to Seattle where her father practiced medicine. Here she developed an interest in writing which she later put to use when she enrolled at the University of Washington where she earned a degree in English literature in 1951.
After graduating from college, Mildred moved back home to take a job as an editorial assistant at the Washington Post. It wasn't long before she was promoted to be the paper's social editor where she covered society events such as weddings and parties. In this role, she met many famous people including U.S. presidents and other politicians.
In addition to being a writer, Mildred Taylor also served in the Washington State Senate from 1963 to 1969 where she became well known for her efforts to improve health care for state inmates.