African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Black Vernacular (AAVE)

Sometimes referred to as "dialect poetry," the use of African American Vernacular English was a common but also controversial feature of African American poetry of this period. Popularized by Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 1890s and 1900s, the use of AAVE was widespread amongst Black poets during and immediately after he passed away in 1906. The use of AAVE became less common in the 1910s and 20s, as a new Black aesthetics emerged. 

See William Stanley Braithwaite's 1919 essay (extended and republished in 1925 in Alain Locke's anthology) for a starting point on the conversation about AAVE in African American poetry.  

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