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Poet William Stanley Braithwaite was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was from the West Indies, his maternal grandmother was a slave in North Carolina, and his mother may have been the daughter of the property owner. When he was young, Braithwaite was educated at home by his father. However, his father died in 1886, and Braithwaite did not finish his schooling. By the time he was 12, he was working to help support his family. He took jobs as an errand boy and then as an apprentice at a publishing company, where he learned typesetting and discovered his love of poetry.

During his lifetime, Braithwaite edited a number of influential poetry anthologies. He founded a publishing company and became a professor of creative writing at Atlanta University, authoring a biography of the Brontë family and several collections of poems. His admiration for the English Romantic poets John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth influenced his own poetic style.

Braithwaite and his wife had seven children. After he retired from Atlanta University, he moved to Harlem in 1945. Braithwaite died in 1962.

Poems by William Stanley Braithwaite
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