Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Festus Claudius McKay  

Pen Name: Claude McKay

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: September 15, 1989 Sunny Ville, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, British West Indies (now Jamaica)

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Festus McKay lived in Chicago from 1944 until his death in 1948.

Biographical and Professional Information

Festus Claudius McKay was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. McKay left for the U.S. in 1912 to attend Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute, but did not become an American citizen until 1940. He was shocked at the racism he encountered here and was attracted to communism in his early life, but he was never a member of the Communist Party. Becoming disillusioned with communism, McKay embraced the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, to which he converted in 1944.


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