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Madgett, Naomi Long (1923–)

Madgett, Naomi Long (1923–)

African-American poet, professor, publisher, and editor. Name variations: Naomi Witherspoon; Naomi Cornelia Long. Born Naomi Cornelia Long, July 5, 1923, in Norfolk, VA; dau. of Clarence Marcellus Long (minister) and Maude (Hilton) Long (teacher); Virginia State College, BA, 1945; Wayne State University, MEd., 1956; International Institute for Advanced Studies, PhD, 1980; m. Julian F. Witherspoon, 1946 (div. 1949); m. William Harold Madgett, 1954 (div. 1960); m. Leonard Patton Andrews, 1972 (died 1996); children: (1st m.) Jill Witherspoon (b. 1947).

Published Songs of a Phantom Nightingale (1941), a collection of poems; on marriage, moved to Detroit (1946), where she worked as a reporter for African-American weekly, The Michigan Chronicle; began teaching in Detroit school system (1955); published 2nd collection, One and the Many (1956), which included one of her most important poems, "Refugee"; released 3rd collection, Star by Star (1965); taught 1st African-American literature course offered in Detroit school system (1965); became assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University (1968), where she would remain until her retirement as professor emeritus (1984); other poetry collections include Pink Ladies in the Afternoon(1972), Exits and Entrances (1978), Octavia (1988) and Remembrances of Spring (1993). Received American Book Award and Governor's Arts Award (both 1993).

See also Women in World History.

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