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Sun, 05.07.1905

Rosey Pool, Author and Activist born

Rosey Pool

*Rosey Pool was born on this date in 1905. She was a white Jewish-Dutch poet and anthologist of African American poetry.

Rosa Eva Pool was born and raised in a secular Jewish family in Amsterdam, Sweden. In the 1920s, she participated in Dutch Popular Front youth movements, such as the socialist Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (AJC) and the Social Democratic Students Club (SDSC). In 1927 she was one of the founders of the Socialistische Kunstenaarskring (SKK, or Socialist Artists Circle). In 1927, shortly after her engagement to the Berlin jurist and later Hamburg senator Gerhard Kramer, Pool moved to Berlin. There she studied English literature at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (currently Humboldt University). Although Pool later claimed to be an anthropologist, she majored in philology.

She wrote her dissertation on The Poetry of the American Negro but could not finish this because of anti-Jewish assaults by the Nazis. In 1935 Kramer and Pool divorced. Pool helped German Jews flee to the Netherlands from Berlin by providing them with addresses. In January 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht, Pool returned to Amsterdam. During the Second World War, she taught at the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam (with Anne Frank among her pupils). Pool became involved in a German Jewish resistance group named Van Dien, which had formed around the Tehuis Oosteinde.

In September 1943, this resistance group helped her to escape from the Nazi transit camp Westerbork. She hid in the town of Baarn, wrote resistance poetry, and compiled a bundle of African American poetry. By the end of 1949, Pool had moved to London to live with her friend "Isa" Isenberg. After the war, Pool established correspondence with Countee CullenLangston Hughes, and W. E. B. Du BoisNaomi Madgett, Owen Dodson, Gordon Heath, and Robert Hayden.

She became involved in the Black Arts Movement in Britain and the United States from her London home. In 1959, Pool traveled to the United States as a Fulbright scholar with UNCF funding and was a guest lecturer at several colleges in the Deep South. She contributed to the 20th-century American Civil Rights Movement by comparing the anti-Jewish measures of the Nazis with the segregation of the American South. When Pool was a guest lecturer at Alabama A&M, where she organized two writers' conferences, they included Samuel W. AllenMargaret BurroughsDudley Randall, and Mari Evans.

Ed Simpkins explained: "it was Rosey Pool's [book] Beyond the Blues that first brought us together (...)." An album called Beyond the Blues was produced in London in 1963, featuring readers including Brock Peters, Gordon Heath, Vinnette Carroll, and Cleo Laine. In 1966 Pool was a jury member at the World Festival of Black Arts, held in Dakar, Senegal. The jury awarded prizes to the poet Robert Hayden and Nelson Mandela. On April 30 30, 1965, Pool became a follower of the Baháʼí Faith. She was visibly promoting the religion. Rosey Pool died on September 29, 1971.

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