July 5, 1923 Naomi Cornelia Long Madgett, Poet Laureate of Detroit, was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Madgett began writing at an early age and published her first book of poems, “Songs to a Phantom Nightingale,” at 17. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia State College (now University) in 1945 and her Master of Education degree from Wayne State University in 1955.. Madgett moved to Detroit, Michigan and became a teacher in the Detroit Public School System where she introduced the first course in African American literature. In 1956, her poem “Midway,” from the book of poetry “One and the Many,” attracted wide attention for its portrayal of Black people’s struggles and victories in a time when racism was prevalent. Madgett became a professor of English at Eastern Michigan University in 1968 and taught there until her retirement in 1984. Other books by Madgett include “Star by Star: Poems” (1965), “Octavia and Other Poems” (1988), “Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems” (2004), and her autobiography “Pilgrim Journey: Autobiography” (2006). Madgett has received honorary doctorate degrees from Siena Heights University, Loyola University-Chicago, and Michigan State University. The annual Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award was established in 1993 to recognize an outstanding book-length manuscript by an African American poet. Madgett was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002. She is currently senior editor of Lotus Press.