- NAME: Robert Hayden
- OCCUPATION: Poet
- BIRTH DATE: August 04, 1913
- DEATH DATE: February 25, 1980
- EDUCATION: University of Michigan, Wayne State University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Detroit, Michigan
- PLACE OF DEATH: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Originally: Asa Bundy Sheffey
- Full Name: Robert Earl Hayden
- AKA: Robert Hayden
Best Known For
Robert Hayden was an African-American poet and professor who is best known as the author of poems, including “Those Winter Sundays” and “The Middle Passage.”
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The history of slavery and emancipation was a recurring theme, visible in poems including "Middle Passage" and "Frederick Douglass."
Despite his consistent interest in African-American historical and cultural themes, Hayden's status as a black author was uncertain. Hayden's Baha'i beliefs, which reject racial categorization,
led him to proclaim himself an American poet rather than an African-American poet. This controversial statement alienated Hayden from some of his colleagues, friends and potential audience.
While clouding his reputation somewhat, Hayden's feelings on race did not preclude critical success or academic esteem. Hayden received many honors for his poetry. He was elected to the American Academy of Poets in 1975. One year later (1976), he became the first African American to serve as the Library of Congress' consultant in poetry—a position that was later renamed to "poet laureate."
Robert Hayden died in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on February 25, 1980, at the age of 66.
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