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Mon, 01.19.1885

Effie Newsome, Children’s Poet born

*Effie Lee Newsome was born on this date in 1885. She was a Black writer and poet.

Newsome was born Mary Effie Lee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Mary Elizabeth Ashe Lee and Benjamin Franklin Lee, a clergyman and chief editor of the Christian Recorder. She lived the first seven years of her life in Philadelphia, not many miles from the Gouldtown, New Jersey, settlement that her father's free-Black ancestors had founded in the eighteenth century and where her father was reared and received his early lessons in literature from his mother, Sarah Gould Lee. She spent most of her adult life in Wilberforce, Ohio, where she worked as a librarian at nearby Central State College and at the College of Education at Wilberforce University.

Upon becoming a poet, her works appeared beside that of Langston Hughes, Frank Horne, and Countee Cullen in the NAACP's Crisis magazine. Newsome was a pioneer in children's literature. She was one of the first African American poets whose work consisted primarily of poems for children. Also, the impact of Newsome's religious background is displayed in some of her writings, such as "O Sea, That Knowest Thy Strength," "Exodus," "Night of Great Holiness," "The Wind's Christmas Story," and "He Will Come Back at Easter," plus others. Effie Newsome died in 1979.

To be a Writer



Notable Black Women, Book 1,
Wonders: The Best Children's Poems Of Effie Lee Newsome
By Effie Lee Newsome,
Illustrator Jones, Lois Mailou,
Copyright September 1999,
Boyds Mills Press, ISBN: 1563978253

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