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African American Women Writers

A native Philadelphian, Mae V. Cowdery (1909-1953) was raised in a comfortable middle class home. As a senior at the Philadelphia High School for Girls (a school also attended by Jessie Fauset) in 1927, she won first prize in a poetry contest run by The Crisis, as well as the Krigwa Poetry Prize for another poem. After graduation, she, like Gwendolyn B. Bennett, attended Pratt Institute. She quickly took to New York City and enjoyed Harlem and Greenwich Village cabarets. Cowdery was one of the few women of her time to publish a book of her own poems, We Lift Our Voices and Other Poems (1936). Despite early success and earning the respect of some of the most influential figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, Cowdery fell silent after the book’s publication. Her final years are shrouded in mystery. She took her own life at the age of forty-four. (Black Women in America)

Genre: Poetry

By Mae Cowdery

About Mae Cowdery