Claude McKay Biography
Birthday: September 15, 1889 (Virgo)
Born In: Clarendon Parish
One of the most influential figures in the Harlem Renaissance, Festus Claudius McKay was a Jamaican-American novelist and poet. Better known as Claude McKay, he was the author of several award winning literary works including the highly acclaimed novel, ‘Home to Harlem’. He was a versatile writer whose work ranged from verses describing the rustic Jamaican life to more serious philosophical works. Life was not easy for the young black man in the early 20th century America and he was witness to rampant acts of racism. He expressed his anger at white authorities through his writings and even took to composing militant style poems. The struggles and triumphs of black people living in racist America was a recurring motif in his writings. His love for literature was apparent from a young age - he was an avid reader of works of philosophy, religion, and science. He was not even ten when he started composing poems of his own. A turning point in his life was his meeting with Walter Jekyll who became his mentor and encouraged him to write. The Jamaican born McKay moved to the U.S. where he was shocked by prevalence of racism. Racism, black life and emancipation of blacks were common concepts he explored in many of his writings.