Arna Bontemps

Arna Bontemps was born in Alexandria, Louisiana to a bricklayer and a schoolteacher. He moved to Los Angeles when he was three. Arna and his father had a rocky relationship after Arna refuced to apprentice in masonry. He was sent away to a white school, but was unhappy to forget his racial heritage. He transferred to Pacific Union College in California and graduated in 1923. He then married Alberta Johnson and had 6 children. Bontemps started to publish his poems in The Crisis and Oppurtunity, a magazine that encouraged African American authors, and earned several prizes for his published poems.

He became a teacher in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. He got to work with important Harlem Renaissance figures like Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer. He became part of an African American group of artists that were started to attract attention. In 1931 he moved to Alabama where he published his first book, God Sends Sunday. His writings were directed to young readers saying that they were ' "not yet insensitive to man's inhumanity to man" ' (Biography). His many poems and writings showed themes of endurance and dignity as he fought to reflect the traditions and cultures of the African American race.