Skip to Main Content

Black History Month

History-makers of Southeast Louisiana

Marcus Christian



Photo from Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans



Marcus Bruce Christian (1900-1976)


Marcus Christian was an African American poet, and educator, who was born in 1900, in Mechanicsville, which is now part of Houma.  He dropped out of high school to support his siblings after the death of both parents. He worked in the cane fields and did other odd jobs, before moving his family to New Orleans when he was 19. There he worked as a chauffeur by day and went to school at night to complete his high school diploma. He began writing poetry. By age 23, he had written his first book of poems. From 1932-1976, his writing career began and flourished with the Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans, as poetry editor and as a special feature writer. He published numerous poems and essays. With the help of his friend Lyle Saxon, Christian was able to get a job with the Negro Unit of the Federal Writers Project at Dillard University, a federally-funded project during the Depression that hired blacks to write the African American history of Louisiana. 

Although he never received a college degree, he was a prolific writer and later taught poetry and history at the University of New Orleans. Marcus Christian was long considered the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African American community, he received the Crisis Outstanding Book Award for his The Common People Manifesto. He was awarded the Sesquicentennial Commission of the Battle of New Orleans bronze medal and was the writer-in-residence at the University of New Orleans. His collection of work is housed in the University of New Orleans, Earl K. Long Library.

Read "The Negro in Louisiana" from the Marcus Christian Collection, The University of New Orleans.

Johnson, David "Marcus Christian" Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 15 Sep 2011. Web. 14 Feb 2018.


The books listed below are available for you at Sims Memorial Library.