The Artist Birthday Series

Arna Bontemps

Bontemps died on June 4, 1973, at his home in Nashville, from a myocardial infarction (heart attack), while working on his collection of short fiction in The Old South (1973). He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Nashville, TN.

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Through his librarianship and bibliographic work, Bontemps became a leading figure in establishing African-American literature as a legitimate object of study and preservation. His work as a poet, novelist, children’s writer, editor, librarian and historian helped shape modern African-American literature, but it also had a tremendous influence on African-American culture.

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