Lance Jeffers (1919-1985)

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Lance Jeffers (1919-1985) was a poet and contributing editor of the Howard University national quarterly magazine Dasein. Dasein published poetry, fiction, and drama of both known and unknown African American writers. Some of Jeffers’ poems were published in the anthology Burning Spear, including his poems “My Blackness is the Beauty of This Land,” “Black Soul of the Land,” “Her Black and African Face I Love,” “And If I Die,” and “For Nights Will Come.” Jeffers’s poetry focuses on racial issues and unapologetically tells the story of black oppression in stark detail such as “thrusting up my loveless bayonet to rape the sky.” It praises many individual, ordinary black people for their beautiful African heritage and their combination of love and hate toward their country. He also was an assistant professor of English at Elizabeth City State Teachers College in Elizabeth City, North Carolina and taught at Federal City College (now UDC). His education in writing originated in Columbia and San Francisco, although he did teach English at Howard University for a short time, when he became involved with the Howard Poets. One of Jeffers’s short stories was published in The Best Short Stories of 1948, and he was also published in Beyond the Blues. Info from Burning Spear. With thanks to the Splendid Wake Committee and the Library of Congress.

Written by Monica Root December 2013

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