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Unformatted text preview: About the Poet Immersed in the ballads and lore of African-Americans, Sterling Allen Brown devoted his life to surmounting black stereotypes. He was a master teacher as well as a master poet of the ballad, sonnet, free verse, and blues form in the years following the urban-centered Harlem Renaissance. Brown elevated rural themes and championed black heroes like Stagolee, Big Boy, John Henry, and Casey Jones. Both an author and literary historian, Brown preserved natural black dialect and religious and secular folk culture, as demonstrated by Slim Greer, his ballad hero, and by essays on the jazz of Earl "Fatha" Hines, Fats Waller, and Louis Armstrong. For his Afro-centrism, Brown earned the praise of his peers, in particular, James Weldon Johnson. Brown was born on May 1, 1901, in Washington, D.C., the son of a former slave, the Reverend Sterling Nelson Brown, who was a religion professor at Howard University's divinity school. His Sterling Nelson Brown, who was a religion professor at Howard University's divinity school....
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- Fall '08