Sometime last year, I locked myself out of my bedroom. Spanky was harassing me and I told her I was gonna lock my door if she didn’t leave me alone. Which, is saying something ‘cause I never lock my door. And then I did it. I locked it. But instead of closing it, I came out to do something and then guess what I did? I did exactly what you think I did. And because I didn’t have one of those locks where you just kinda stick a pin in it and pop the thingy out, I was LOCKED OUT locked out.  THEN I thought, well maybe I can just take apart the doorknob except I took it apart and since I didn’t know what I was doing now I had a deconstructed knob but a still locked door that I couldn’t figure out how to unlock. So I did what anybody who is not good with thingabobs would do. I went to my neighbor’s house and asked them to help me. And because he and his wife love me, he came over to tell me that I effed up the doorknob. INSTEAD he helped me get Spank through a window. Who in turn, unlocked the door from the inside and let me in. (Yes. I got a new doorknob. SO FAR SO GOOD)

And if you were wondering if this was a metaphor for you getting in where you fit in so that you can just open the damn door for somebody else/ DID I JUST GET TO THE BHFOTD? The answer is yes! Because today’s fact is a gimme. Because I’m lazy and even though EVERY DAMN YEAR I say, “Last year was SO HECTIC. I should definitely, absolutely plan these” I. DO. NOT. But I know y’all come for the bullsh!t, and stay for the fact, so let’s get into Robert Hayden.

*cracks knuckles*

Robert Hayden was a Black American poet, essayist and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978. Whew that title is QUITE a mouthful. [That’s what she said? No?]  He was the first African American to climb through a window to hold the office. Who made it easier for Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950, to become the  Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985-86 term. Anyway. Ms. Brooks, cleared the way for Rita Dove, SECOND African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, first AND youngest African American to have been appointed to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous “consultant in poetry” position (1937–86). And Rita Dove (I just love her name!) just went on and opened the door for Amanda Gorman to walk through.

In 2017 Amanda Gorman, poet and activist, was the FIRST PERSON to be named  National Youth Poet Laureate. The National Youth Poet Laureate is a title held in the United States by a young person who demonstrates skill in the arts, particularly poetry and/or spoken word, is a strong leader, is committed to social justice, and is active in civic discourse and advocacy. It is a title awarded annually to one winner among five finalists, most of whom have been chosen as the Poet Laureate for their city or region. Amanda was named Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014.

She was also the first youth poet (of…any color, if we’re keeping track. AND WE ARE) to open the literary season for the Library of Congress! AND the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration* in united states history. She will also be making MORE history the first poet to perform at the super bowl. I guess the NFL LIKES activists now? Who would have thought that after years of talking wild sh!t about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem [No. I am not sorry] in protest against racial injustice and police brutality and kicking him out the NFL and then having to SETTLE a lawsuit for an undisclosed (and probably ungodly) amount of money, while america was america-ing  and the police proving time and time again that they ARE in fact, violent and racist up to and including participating in an insurrection, the NFL would invite a poet and activist to speak? CERTAINLY NOT ME.

*hey! Did y’all know Maya Angelou DID NOT win a Pulitzer Prize, and was never a Poet Laureate? I mean, I *KNEW*, but I didn’t *KNOW* if that makes sense? But it do not matter ‘cause you know what she DID do? She was the first black poet to speak at a presidential inauguration. I didn’t add her up top ‘cause she was neither a pulitzer prize winner OR a poet laureate but ALSO IT DO NOT MATTER ‘cause mama Maya still blazed one hell of a trail that put Amanda Gorman on the write (get it? See what I did there?!) path.

Hello! It’s February and you know what dat mean! It means that I am going to be pulling black history facts out of a grab bag and then writing things. Hope y’all are ready, ‘cause I never am!

(also hi hello strangers and friends new to Black History Facts of the Day. I’m Briya, your “host”. I get to write about whatever I want and if you somehow managed to get on this list, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU. Enjoy! Or don’t! I’m doin’ it anyway)