Poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and children’s book author Eloise Greenfield and passed away on August 4 and August 5.
Eloise Greenfield, born on May 17, 1929, was an American children’s book and biography author and poet famous for her descriptive, rhythmic style and positive portrayal of the African-American experience.
Some of her children’s books with the illustrators were Bubbles (1972), She Comes Bringing Me that Little Baby Girl (1974), Sister (1974), Me and Neesie (1975), First Pink Light (1976), Africa Dream (1976), I Can Do It by Myself (1978), Talk About a Family (1978), Darlene (1980), Grandmama’s Joy (1980), and Grandpa’s Face (1988).
Some of the biographies she wrote were Rosa Parks (1973), Paul Robeson (1975), Mary McLeod Bethune (1977), Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir (1979), Alesia (1981), For the Love of the Game: Michael Jordan and Me (1997), How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea (2003), and The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives (2019).
She won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for book Childtimes. Her body of work was recognized by the National Black Child Developmental Institute in 1981. In 1983, Greenfield won the Washington, DC Mayor’s Art Award in Literature and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. In 1990 she received a Recognition of Merit Award from the George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books in Claremont, California. She won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, given by the National Council of Teachers of English. She also received a lifetime achievement citation from the Ninth Annual Celebration of Black Writing, Philadelphia, PA, 1993; the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award; the Milner Award; the Hope S. Dean Award from the Foundation for Children’s Literature; the American Library Association Notable Book citation; and the National Black Child Development Institute Award, among others. In 2013, she received the Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She won several Coretta Scott King Awards and honors, including the 2018 Award for Lifetime Achievement, an award for her 2011 book The Great Migration: Journey to the North and one for her 1976 book Africa Dream.
She passed away on August 5, 2021
Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze
Jean “Binta” Breeze MBE born on March 11, 1956 was a Jamaican dub poet and storyteller, acknowledged as the first woman to write and perform dub poetry. She worked also as a theatre director, choreographer, actor, and teacher. She performed her work around the world, in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, South-East Asia, and Africa, and has been called “one of the most important, influential performance poets of recent years”.
Some of her poetry contributions were Answers (1983), Riddym Ravings and Other Poems (1988), Spring Cleaning (1992), On the Edge of an Island (1997), Song Lines (1997), The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems (2000), The Fifth Figure (2006), Third World Girl: Selected Poems (2011), and The Verandah Poems (2016).
Some of her albums included Riddym Ravings (1987), Tracks (1991), Hearsay (1994), Riding on de Riddym (1997), and Eena Me Corner (2010).
In 2018, Breeze received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Leicester, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jamaican Poetry Festival, and a silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. Breeze was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to literature.
She passed away in Sandy Bay, Jamaica on August 4, 2021.