Born in Philadelphia, Mae V. Cowdery first published poetry in high school, when three of her poems appeared in the Philadelphia-based magazine Black Opals. That same year, she won the Crisis poetry contest for “Longings” and the Krigwa Poetry Prize for “Lamps.” After high school, Cowdery moved to New York City, where she studied at the Pratt Institute. She authored We Lift Our Voices and Other Poems (Alpress, 1936). Through her writing and association with poets such as Langston Hughes, Cowdery participated in the Harlem Renaissance. She died at age 44.

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