Family History and Early Years:

  • Brathwaite was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, to Barbadian parents Hilton Brathwaite and Beryl Brathwaite. He grew up in a modest but educated household, which laid the groundwork for his academic pursuits.
  • His early education was in Barbados, and he showed a talent for writing and an interest in history and culture. He later won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Harrison College in Barbados, which further honed his academic skills.

Career Beginnings:

  • After completing his studies in Barbados, Brathwaite won the Barbados Island Scholarship in 1949, allowing him to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He graduated with honors in 1953 with a degree in History.
  • He subsequently worked as an education officer in Ghana during the early years of its independence (1955-1962), where he developed a deep appreciation for African culture and history. This experience profoundly influenced his later work.

Poetic Career and Influences:

  • Brathwaite’s poetic style was heavily influenced by African oral traditions, Caribbean creole languages, and the history of the African diaspora. His work reflects his interest in reclaiming and celebrating the Caribbean and African heritage.
  • His first collection of poetry, “Rights of Passage,” was published in 1967 and is part of his groundbreaking “The Arrivants” trilogy, along with “Masks” (1968) and “Islands” (1969). These collections examined themes of diaspora, migration, and identity.

Notable Achievements and Honors:

  • Brathwaite’s work gained widespread recognition, and he became one of the leading voices in Caribbean literature. He won several prestigious awards, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1994.
  • He was also awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2006 for his collection “Born to Slow Horses.”
  • Throughout his career, Brathwaite advocated for the use of Caribbean dialects and rhythms in poetry, challenging traditional literary forms and promoting a unique Caribbean aesthetic.

Personal Life and Legacy:

  • Brathwaite married Beverley Reid, a Jamaican actress, in 1960. She was a significant influence on his work, and they had one son, Michael. Beverley passed away in 1986, which profoundly affected Brathwaite and his writing.
  • Brathwaite spent his later years as a professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, where he continued to write and inspire new generations of poets and scholars.
  • His legacy endures through his contributions to Caribbean literature and his pioneering work in promoting the cultural identity and voices of the Caribbean and African diaspora.

Full Name: Edward Kamau Brathwaite

Date of Birth: May 11, 1930

Place of Birth: Bridgetown, Barbados

Date of Death: February 4, 2020

Age at Death: 89

Nationality: Barbadian

Profession: Poet, Historian, Educator, Scholar

Residence: Split his time between Barbados and the United States (where he worked at New York University)

Horoscope: Taurus

Age: 93 years old

Physical Attributes:

  • Height: Approximately 5’10”
  • Weight: Estimated around 160-170 pounds
  • Body Type: Slim/Athletic
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Color: Black (later turned grey/white in his later years)