Modernist Poetry I know my soul

by: Lindsey and Kenzie

Claude McKay

He was born Sept. 1889 later moved to Harlem, New York. He was a Jamaican writer and poet. He was known for "If We Must Die" and "Harlem Shadows". He died in Chicago, Illinois in May or 1948.

How his life affected his poetry

At a young age Claude was sent to live with his older brother who was a school teacher. Claude began to write poems at age 10. His famous writing "If We Must Die" that poem was inspired by the "Red Summer" which was a racial violence around the time of 1919. Besides all that Claude has lived in Clarendon Parish, New York, England, and Chicago. When he lived in New York and England, he was a Journalist editor.

red summer 1919

marked by 100 of deaths and higher causalities across the U.S. Race Riots that occured in more than 3 dozen cities and rural countries.

how the time period affected his poetry

racism was a really big issue in this time period. This issue inspired him to write his poetry because at the time his brother was a black teacher and he lived with him so this issue affected him on a daily basis. Due racism affecting education it caused him to move a lot and affect the proper education he needed.

Comparative analysis

In comparison of I Know My Soul and If We Must Die he basically talks about how he wants to find him self and live his life freely and how he wants to not be controlled.


The theme is focusing on yourself. which basically means living freely and doing what you want and not letting anyone or anything control your life.


Created By
Lindsey Ash


Created with images by cromaconceptovisual - "address book notebook book"

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