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*Stephen Henderson was born on this date in 1925. He was a Black professor of African American literature and culture.
Stephen E. Henderson was born in Key West, Florida. He served two years in the U.S. Army towards the end of the Second World War. He graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor's degree in English and sociology with high honors in 1949. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, being awarded a master's degree in English in 1950.
In 1950, he became a professor of English at Virginia Union University, which post he held until 1962, meanwhile obtaining a Ph.D. in English and Art History (1959). In 1962 he took an appointment as chair of the English department at Morehouse, and from 1969 for two years, was a senior research fellow at the Institute for the Black World in Atlanta before 1971 taking on a professorship at Howard University, teaching in the departments of English and African American Studies.
He was director of the Institute for the Arts and the Humanities at Howard (1973–85) and lectured in the U.S. and abroad. His 1973 book Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music as Poetic References is a seminal work "heralded as the first formalized articulation of a theoretical understanding of African American poetry and sparked new debate and dialogue in the world of African American literature." Henderson retired in 1992 and died aged 71 at his home in Langley Park, Maryland, on January 7, 1997.