Council Member Charles Barron
City of New York Proclamation


Whereas: Charles Barron, Council Member of the 42nd District, is proud to honor George Edward Tait for 30 years of outstanding contribution as Poet Laureate of Harlem; and

WHEREAS: An insightful poet, historian, journalist and prophet for decades, George Edward Tait’s illuminating work has embraced language as a tool of liberation. In doing so, his work has not only changed the way we see our world, but has changed the way we view ourselves; and

WHEREAS: Born in Oakland, California, George Edward Tait was raised in the Village of Harlem. He graduated from Pace University in 1968 with a B.A. in English Language and Literature and a minor in French Language and Literature after being a member of the literary society and The Pace Press. From 1968 to 1972, he taught English at Queens College while conducting Creative Writing workshops. In 1975, he founded the Society of Afrikan Poets and produced “Black Words for a Wednesday Night,” a seven-year series of weekly poetry readings for 360 continuous weeks, which featured countless world renowned activists, artists, poets, and scholars, including Amiri Baraka, Abbey Lincoln, Quincy Troupe, and others; and

WHEREAS: While George Edward Tait was teaching at Malcolm-King College (1981-1986), his first volume of poetry “At War” was published in 1983. During this year, he was named “Poet Laureate of Afrikan Nationalism” by Elombe Brath of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and Robert Harris of the African Nationalist Construction Movement; and

WHEREAS: In 2010, George Edward Tait completed the third part of his monumental trilogy, “Swordsongs: Selected Poetry of George Edward Tait,” which commenced with “At War” and continued with “At Arms.” The year 2010 also marked his 50th year as a poet and his 40th year conducting poetry workshops. In 2011, George Edward Tait was named “Poet Laureate of the Black Nation” by the Republic of New Afrika; and

WHEREAS: George Edward Tait is the author of the poem “The Black Brigade,” which many adopted as the anthem of the Black Movement, and which was selected as the preamble to Herman Ferguson’s monumental memoir “An Unlikely Warrior: Evolution of a Black Nationalist Revolutionary,” and

WHEREAS: George Edward Tait is the author of the poem “I am a Black Man,” which was selected as the preamble to Herb Boyd’s landmark and award-winning anthology “Brotherman: The Odyssey of the Black Man in America,” and

WHEREAS: George Edward Tait had the honor of signing over, by request, three of his poems to the first Poet Laureate of Harlem, Langston Hughes. For three decades, he has built upon Hughes’ great legacy with his own indelible work and he has earned the esteem of all New Yorkers; now therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That Charles Barron, Council Member of the 42nd District, gratefully honors George Edward Tait

In celebration of his 30th Anniversary as Poet Laureate of Harlem
Signed this 27th day of January in the year Twenty Thirteen.

Charles Barron
Council Member, 42nd District