9 groundbreaking black poets who revolutionized the written word

1. Gil Scott-Heron

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2. Audre Lorde

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3. Robert Hayden

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4. Gwendolyn Brooks

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5. Maya Angelou

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6. Amiri Baraka

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7. Nikki Giovanni

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8. Rita Dove

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9. Langston Hughes

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If we’re to believe Plato, poetry is nearer to truth than history.

That saying certainly holds for groundbreaking black poets like Langston Hughes, who wrote unapologetically about the world through the eyes of a black artist.

SEE ALSO: 7 pioneering black artists who shaped modern music

Numerous black poets have made waves in the literary world, from Gwendolyn Brooks, who in 1950 became the first black writer to win a Pulitzer Prize, to Maya Angelou, one of the foremost poets of the 20th century. Writers like Gil Scott-Heron and Amiri Baraka electrified the written word with their sociopolitical statements, while Audre Lorde and Nikki Giovanni wrote radical lines that addressed sexism and racism.

These are just a few of the pioneering black poets who forged ahead, paving the way for writers that came after them. While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, these are nine poets you shouldn’t go any longer without reading.

This Black History Month, take time to appreciate their work with these selections from classic poems.

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