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*The birth of Alexander Pushkin in 1799 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black Russian poet and the great-grandson of Abram Hannibal, Black African general and friend of Peter the Great.
As a child, Alexander Sergeyvich Pushkin displayed a talent for writing poetry. In 1818, he was appointed to Russia's ministry of foreign affairs. By day, he worked for the government; at night, he wrote poetry. Pushkin eventually became Russia's poet laureate. Political freedom was the subject of two of his most famous poems, Noel and Ode to Freedom, which critiqued the government. As a result, Pushkin was banished into exile, during which he continued to write and became the first Russian to earn a living as a poet.
In 1824, he received a pardon from Alexander the First on the condition that his future writings would not provoke political unrest. Thereafter, he wrote two novels, The Captive of the Caucasus and The Captain's Daughter. A continuous theme throughout his works was his obvious pride in his African heritage. He left unfinished a tribute novel, The Moor of Peter the Great, in honor of his grandfather. In 1837 at the age of 38, Pushkin died in a duel over the woman he married.
The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.