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Frank Marshall Davis

African American writer. 1905-1987

Frank Marshall Davis was born in December 31, 1905, in Arkansas City, Kansas. He became a writer, poet, editor, and journalist. His works were especially popular during the Harlem Renaissance and during the African American Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Growing up in southern Kansas, Davis discovered reading in the local public library. At Kansas State University he studied journalism and published his first poems. Davis patterned his free verse poetry style after the blues and jazz music he had heard in Kansas.

In 1927, he moved to Chicago where he worked for several African American newspapers.  In 1931 he moved to Atlanta to become the managing editor of the Atlanta Daily World.  Reportedly, the paper became the nation's first successful African American daily under his editorship.  He returned to Chicago in 1935 to take a position with the Associated Negro Press. He moved to Honolulu in 1948 where he operated wholesale paper companies and contributed a weekly column, called "Frank-ly Speaking," to local papers. 

Frank Marshall Davis died in July 26, 1987 in Hawaii.

Entry: Davis, Frank Marshall

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2009

Date Modified: June 2011

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.