Famous Black Poets

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou.
11
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 2 Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes.
7
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Playwright, & Columnist
Birthdate: February 1, 1902
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died: May 22, 1967

Langston Hughes is best remembered as a prominent leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first to write jazz poetry. He also wrote plays and short stories. He was a columnist for The Chicago Defender and wrote the iconic poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers.

 3 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 4 Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe.
4
Famous As: Nigerian novelist
Birthdate: November 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ogidi, Nigeria Protectorate
Died: March 21, 2013

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian poet, novelist, professor, and critic. Often described as Africa's greatest storyteller, Achebe is widely regarded as the father of modern African writing. He was the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Man Booker International Prize 2007. His novel Things Fall Apart is one of the most read books in Africa.

 5 Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde.
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City
Died: November 17, 1992

Author and poet Audre Lorde is remembered as a firebrand feminist and a champion for the LGBT community. Openly lesbian, she penned iconic volumes such as Cables to Rage and The Black Unicorn. She also recorded her 14-year struggle with cancer in The Cancer Journals and A Burst of Light.

 6 James Avery

James Avery
8
Famous As: Film actor
Birthdate: November 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Suffolk, Virginia, U.S.
Died: December 31, 2013

 7 Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron
4
Famous As: Singer, Writer, Composer, Poet, Pianist
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: May 27, 2011
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 8 Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley.
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 8, 1753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: West Africa
Died: December 5, 1784

 9 Noname

Noname
5
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 18, 1991
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 10 Chirlane McCray

Chirlane McCray.
4
Famous As: Writer, Social Activist
Birthdate: November 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

 11 Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wyco, West Virginia, USA
Died: September 19, 2017

 12 Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott.
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia

Derek Walcott was a Saint Lucian playwright and poet who was honored with the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was also the recipient of several literary awards like Obie Award, Royal Society of Literature Award, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and Queen's Medal for Poetry. In 2016, he was made Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lucia.

 13 Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 7, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark
Died: January 9, 2014

 14 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 15 Akala

Akala
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kentish Town, London, England

 16 Saul Williams

Saul Williams.
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Poet
Birthdate: February 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York, USA

 17 James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 17, 1871
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida
Died: June 26, 1938

 18 Ken Saro-Wiwa

Ken Saro-Wiwa
4
Famous As: Writer, Poet, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bori, Nigeria
Died: November 30, 1995

 19 Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks.
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Topeka, Kansas
Died: December 3, 2000

 20 Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni
9
Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: June 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Knoxville

 21 Claude McKay

Claude McKay.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clarendon Parish
Died: May 22, 1948

Claude McKay was a poet who played an influential role in the Harlem Renaissance. Remembered for his work If We Must Die, a poem written in response to mob attacks on African-American communities by white Americans, McKay was named the national poet of Jamaica in 1977. For his contribution to literature, he was posthumously honored with the Order of Jamaica.

 22 Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar.
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 27, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 9, 1906

 23 Ron Cephas Jones

Ron Cephas Jones.
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey, United States

 24 Aime Cesaire

Aime Cesaire
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Basse-Pointe, Martinique, France
Died: April 17, 2008

 25 Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen
3
Famous As: American poet
Birthdate: May 30, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: January 9, 1946

 26 Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan
3
Famous As: American author
Birthdate: October 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Port Huron, Michigan, United States

 27 Ben Okri

Ben Okri
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Novelist, Author, Poet
Birthdate: March 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Minna, Nigeria

 28 Melvin Tolson

Melvin Tolson
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 6, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moberly, Missouri, United States
Died: August 29, 1966

 29 Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 22, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

 30 Rita Dove

Rita Dove
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: August 28, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Akron

 31 Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gulfport, Mississippi, United States

 32 Ernest J. Gaines

Ernest J. Gaines
3
Famous As: Author, Educator
Birthdate: January 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oscar, Louisiana, United States

 33 Keorapetse Kgositsile

Keorapetse Kgositsile
4
Famous As: Poet, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: September 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Johannesburg

 34 Frances Harper

Frances Harper
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 24, 1825
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: February 22, 1911

 35 Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton.
3
Famous As: American poet
Birthdate: June 27, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: February 13, 2010

 36 Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden.
3
Famous As: Poet, Essayist, Educator
Birthdate: August 4, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Detroit
Died: February 25, 1980

 37 Tongayi Chirisa

Tongayi Chirisa
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 8, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harare, Zimbabwe

 38 Gabriel Okara

Gabriel Okara
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bomoundi, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Died: March 25, 2019

 39 Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.

Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 29, 2005

 40 Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bogalusa, Louisiana

 41 Édouard Glissant

Édouard Glissant
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Died: February 3, 2011

 42 Francis Bebey

Francis Bebey
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Douala, Cameroon
Died: May 28, 2001

 43 Kamau Brathwaite

Kamau Brathwaite
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 11, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bridgetown, Barbados

 44 Rui de Noronha

Rui de Noronha
3
Famous As: Poet and Journalist
Birthdate: October 28, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Maputo, Mozambique
Died: December 25, 1943

 45 June Jordan

June Jordan
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: June 14, 2002

 46 David Diop

David Diop
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: August 29, 1960

 47 Dambudzo Marechera

Dambudzo Marechera
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rusape, Zimbabwe
Died: August 18, 1987

 48 Ayi Kwei Armah

Ayi Kwei Armah
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Takoradi, Ghana

 49 Alice Dunbar Nelson

Alice Dunbar Nelson
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: September 18, 1935

 50 Christopher Okigbo

Christopher Okigbo
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 16, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ojoto, Nigeria
Died: 1967 AD