35 Facts About Sonia Sanchez


Sonia Sanchez was born on Wilsonia Benita Driver; September 9,1934 and is an American poet, writer, and professor.


Sonia Sanchez was a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and has written over a dozen books of poetry, as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children's books.


Sonia Sanchez has been influential to other African-American poets, including Krista Franklin.


Sonia Sanchez's mother died when Sanchez was only one year old, so she spent several years being shuttled back and forth among relatives.


Sonia Sanchez focused on the sound of her poetry, admitting to always reading it aloud, and received praise for her use of the full range of African and African-American vocal resources.


Sonia Sanchez is known for her sonic range and dynamic public readings.


Sonia Sanchez pursued post-graduate studies at New York University, working closely with Louise Bogan.

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Sonia Sanchez later married Etheridge Knight, had twin sons named Morani Neusi and Mungu Neusi, but they divorced after two years.


Sonia Sanchez taught 5th Grade in NYC at the Downtown Community School, until 1967.


Sonia Sanchez has taught as a professor at eight universities and has lectured at more than 500 college campuses across the US, including Howard University.


Sonia Sanchez was a leader in the effort to establish the discipline of Black Studies at university level.


Sonia Sanchez was the first to create and teach a course based on Black Women and literature in the United States and the course she offered on African-American literature is generally considered the first of its kind taught at a predominantly white university.


Sonia Sanchez viewed the discipline of Black Studies as both a new platform for the study of race and a challenge to the institutional biases of American universities.


Sonia Sanchez was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began working in 1977.


Sonia Sanchez has read her poetry in Africa, the Caribbean, China, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, and Canada.


Sonia Sanchez supports the National Black United Front and was a very influential part of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Arts Movement.


In 1972, Sonia Sanchez joined the Nation of Islam, during which time she published A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women, but she left the organization after three years, in 1975.


Sonia Sanchez continues to advocate for the rights of oppressed women and minority groups.


Sonia Sanchez wrote many plays and books that had to do with the struggles and lives of Black America.


Sonia Sanchez is committed to a variety of activist causes, including the Brandywine Peace Community, MADRE, and Plowshares.


Sonia Sanchez published poetry and essays in numerous periodicals in the 1960s, including The Liberator, Negro Digest, and Black Dialogue.


Sonia Sanchez's writing established her importance as a political thinker to the "black aesthetic" program.


Sonia Sanchez gained a reputation as an important voice in the Black Arts Movement after publishing the book of poems Homecoming in 1969.


Sonia Sanchez uses spelling to celebrate the unique sound of black English, for which she gives credit to poets such as Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown.


The collection describes both the struggle of defining black identity in the United States as well as the many causes for celebration Sonia Sanchez sees in black culture.

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Sonia Sanchez continues to explores the haiku, tanka, and sonku forms, as well as blues-influenced rhythms.


Sonia Sanchez began writing plays while in San Francisco in the 1960s.


Sonia Sanchez has been recognized as a pioneering champion of black feminism.


Sonia Sanchez's more recent contemporary endeavors include a spoken-word interlude on "Hope is an Open Window", a song co-written by Diana Ross from her 1998 album Every Day is a New Day.


Sonia Sanchez served in that position from 2012 to 2014.


In 2013 Sonia Sanchez headlined the 17th annual Poetry Ink at which she read her poem "Under a Soprano Sky".


Sonia Sanchez has been awarded the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Humanities, and the Peace and Freedom Award from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, as well as the 1999 Langston Hughes Poetry Award, the 2001 Robert Frost Medal, the 2004 Harper Lee Award, and the 2006 National Visionary Leadership Award.


In 2017 Sonia Sanchez was honored at the 16th Annual Dr Betty Shabazz Awards in a ceremony held on June 29 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem.


At the 84th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony on September 26,2019, Sonia Sanchez was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cleveland Foundation.


In 2022, Sonia Sanchez was awarded The Edward MacDowell Medal by The MacDowell Colony for outstanding contributions to American culture.