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McKay Chronology

1889    Claude McKay born September 15.

1896    Goes to live with brother in a small town near Montego Bay, Jamaica.

1907    Assigned as apprentice to wheelwright. Meets first significant patron, Walter Jekyll.

1911    Joins constabulary in Spanish Town, Jamaica.

1912    Publishes Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads. Comes to United States and enrolls at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

1913-1914    Attends Kansas State University.

1914    Goes to New York City. July 30, marries Eulalie Imelda Edwards; marriage ends six months later.

1917    Publishes poems under pseudonym of Eli Edwards.

1918    Meets Frank Harris, editor of Pearson's Magazine, McKay's second significant patron.

1919    Publishes "If We Must Die" in Max Eastman's The Liberator.

1919 - 1920    Travels to London. Reads Karl Marx, beginning his commitment to Marxism; works for Sylvia Pankhurst's Marxist periodical, Workers' Dreadnought.

1920         Publishes Spring in New Hampshire.

1921    Returns to New York. Becomes associate editor of The Liberator and publishes the essay "How Black Sees Green and Red."comint.jpg (31585 bytes)

1922    Publishes Harlem Shadows and the essay "He Who Gets Slapped" in The Liberator. January, becomes coeditor of The Liberator; June, resigns as coeditor,

1922-1923    Makes the "magic pilgrimage" to Russia. Enthusiastic welcome by Soviet bureaucracy and Russian people. Addresses The Third Communist International, Moscow.

1923-1933    Expatriate years in Europe and North Africa.

1925    Writes first novel, "Color Scheme," later destroyed.

1927    Alain Locke publishes Four Negro Poets, containing work by McKay.

1928    Publishes Home to Harlem, a popular success.

1929   Banjo.

1932   Gingertown and essay, "A Negro to his Critics."

1933   Banana Bottom.

1934    Returns to United States. Spends several months in welfare camp, Camp Greycourt, New York.

1935    Publishes the essay "Harlem Runs Wild."

1937   A Long Way from Home

1938    Meets Ellen Tarry, Roman Catholic writer,

1939    Loses job with Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration. Appears before subdivision of Dies Committee.

1940    Publishes Harlem: Negro Metropolis and the essay "Lest We Forget."

1943    Suffers stroke while working at a Federal shipbuilding yard. Moves to Chicago.

1944    October 11, baptized into Roman Catholic faith.

1945    Publishes essay, "On Becoming a Roman Catholic," and poem, "Look Within."

1946    In health resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Publishes poem, "The Middle Ages," and essay, "Why I Became a Catholic."'

1948    Dies in Chicago; buried in New York after a service in Harlem.

1953   Selected Poems of Claude McKay published; essay, "Boyhood in Jamaica," published in Phylon.

From James R. Giles. Claude McKay. Boston: Twayne, 1976.

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