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Naomi Long Madgett

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Information about Naomi Long Madgett

Profile image of Naomi Long Madgett

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Poet
English Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/5/1923
Birth Location:
Norfolk, Virginia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Poet
English Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/5/1923
Birth Location:
Norfolk
See how Naomi Long Madgett is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Poet and English professor emeritus Naomi Cornelia Long Madgett was born on July 5, 1923 in Norfolk, Virginia to the Reverend Clarence Marcellus Long and the former Maude Selena Hilton. Growing up in East Orange, New Jersey, she attended Ashland Grammar School and Bordentown School. At age twelve, Madgett’s poem, My Choice, was published on the youth page of the Orange Daily Courier. In 1937, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where her schoolmates included Margaret Bush Wilson, E. Sims Campbell and lifelong friend, baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr. Madgett, at age fifteen, established a friendship with Langston Hughes. Just days after graduating with honors from Charles Sumner High School in 1941, Madgett’s first book of poetry, Songs to a Phantom Nightingale was published. She attended Virginia State University during World War II and graduated with her B.A. degree in 1945.

Madgett attended graduate school at New York University. In 1946, she married and moved to Detroit, Michigan where she worked as a copywriter for the Michigan Chronicle and the Michigan Bell. In 1949, her poem Refugee appeared in The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1949 and in 1950, several of her poems were featured in American Literature by Negro Authors. Occasionally, Madgett read her poetry for the Detroit Study Club. After marrying William H. Madgett in 1954, she earned her M.Ed. from Wayne State University in 1955. Madgett taught at Northwestern High School, while two other books; 1956’s One and the Many and 1965’s Star by Star gained local accolade. Madgett joined a group of black Detroit writers including Margaret Danner, Oliver LaGrone, Dudley Randall, Harold G. Lawrence, Edward Simpkins, Gloria Davis, Alma Parks, James Thompson and Betty Ford who met at Boone House. They were featured along with James Edward McCall and playwrights Powell Lindsay and Woodie King, Jr. in the October 1962 issue of the Negro History Bulletin. Madgett’s poetry was also published in the Negro Digest and Hughes’s 1964 anthology, New Negro Poets: U.S.A. In 1965, she was awarded the Mott Fellowship in English.

In 1968, Madgett was included in Ten: Anthology of Detroit Poets and joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University where she wrote A Student’s Guide to Creative Writing. Madgett’s 1971 African travels inspired the poems Phillis, and Glimpses of Africa. She earned her Ph.D. from Greenwich University in 1980. Octavia and Other Poems was published in 1988 by Third World Press. Madgett formed Lotus Press in 1972 and published her own book, Pink Ladies in the Afternoon. She edited the acclaimed Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men in 1992. Madgett is the recipient of many honors including 1993’s American Book Award and the George Kent Award in 1995.

Madgett, who was made Detroit’s Poet Laureate by Mayor Dennis Archer, continues as a vital part of Detroit’s cultural life.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi Long Madgett's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her mother's childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her mother's education and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal aunt, Octavia Long, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal aunt, Octavia Long, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls researching her paternal aunt, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls researching her paternal aunt, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes Guthrie, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Reverend S.S. Jones
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls the racism in East Orange, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her father's personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Reluctant Light'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers East Orange, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes Ashland Grammar School in East Orange, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Calvary Baptist Church, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Calvary Baptist Church, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls tension at Calvary Baptist Church in East Orange, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls leaving Calvary Baptist Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Robert McFerrin, Sr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her graduating class at Charles H. Sumner High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her classes at Charles H. Sumner High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her brother's military service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls learning about black history
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers Langston Hughes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her first book of poetry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the release of her first book of poetry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her decision to attend Virginia State College for Negroes in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her paternal grandmother
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls visiting Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers rationing during World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers her brother's disappearance during World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her brother's time in prison camp
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her brother's release from prison camp
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the important role of teachers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers professors at Virginia State College for Negroes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers historian, Luther Porter Jackson, Sr.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the history of Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls graduating from Virginia State College for Negroes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her first marriage
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls being hired at Michigan Bell Telephone Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about completing her master's degree
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her early teaching career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the inspiration for her poetry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Midway'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her poem, 'Alabama Centennial'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the theme of race in her poetry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her style of poetry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the impact of 'Midway,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the impact of 'Midway,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the Boone House group in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers African American writers in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi Long Madgett's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls meeting African American poets in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the Boone House poets
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls working for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls working for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about her teaching career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her civil rights poems
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls her childhood inspiration
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers the deaths of her brothers
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about writing new poetry
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recites her poem, 'Reluctant Light'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recites her poem, 'Connected Islands'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett recounts her paternal family history
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls conducting research on her paternal family
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls visiting Guthrie, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett remembers starting Lotus Press
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls early publications of Lotus Press
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett describes the authors published by Lotus Press
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about Lotus Press' operations
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls serving as poet laureate of Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett describes other poet laureates
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett talks about the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett compares spoken word poetry and written poetry
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her future plans
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Naomi Long Madgett describes her organizational memberships
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Naomi Long Madgett recalls donating her papers
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Naomi Long Madgett reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Naomi Long Madgett reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Naomi Long Madgett shares her hopes for future generations
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Naomi Long Madgett describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Naomi Long Madgett narrates her photographs