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

T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928): Author Page

Timothy Thomas Fortune, also known as T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928) was perhaps best known as a journalist. He was the editor of New York City's influential Black newspaper, The New York Age, and an advisor to Booker T. Washington. Fortune was born and raised in Florida, where he want to a preparatory school.

Fortune worked a series of jobs in the 1870s that led him to Delaware. In 1875, Fortune enrolled at Howard University, where he briefly studied journalism before leaving the university to work as a journalist at People's Advocate. In 1879, Fortune moved to New York, and worked at a series of newspapers there before landing at the New York Age

Alongside his work as a journalist and editor, Fortune was closely involved in a series of civil rights advocacy groups through the 1890s. He published a non fiction book called The Kind of Education the Afro-American Most Needs in 1898, and a book of poems called Dreams of Life: Miscellaneous Poems in 1905. Fortune stepped down from his role at the New York Age in 1907; starting in 1923, he was actively involved with the UNIA's newspaper, Negro World.  

In addition to reproducing many of Fortune's published poems on this site, we have also reproduced  an important essay he wrote on African American naming questions: "Who Are We? Afro-Americans, Colored People, or Negroes?”. That essay is also discussed in our "Note on Historical Language" regarding the history of Ethnonyms describing people of African descent. 

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