Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Useni Eugene Perkins  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1932, in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Perkins currently lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Useni Eugene Perkins is a distinguished poet, playwright, and youth worker. He is the author of Harvesting New Generations: The Positive Development of Black Youth; Home is a Dirty Street: The Social Oppression of Black Children; and Black Fairy and Other Plays.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Home is a Dirty Street: The Social Oppression of Black Children
ISBN: 0883780488

Third World Press. 1993

This work is a reflection of the author's 16 years of working with Black urban children in Chicago. Perkins explains how systematic oppression prevents urban Black children from achieving their true potential.

Memories & Images: Selected Poems
ISBN: 0883782448

Third World Press. 2003

Perkins reveals his personal development into his present philosophy as he recounts his childhood, extols his heroes, and sings about the jazz greats.

Harvesting New Generations: The Positive Development of Black Youth
ISBN: 0883782243

Third World Press. 2005

A comprehensive exposition on Black youth, this study provides a careful analysis of their problems--personal, societal and institutional--as well as potential solutions for the future.

Poetry from the Masters: The Black Arts Movement
ISBN: 1933491132

Just Us Books, Inc.. 2014

The Black Arts Movement spanned less than two decades, but left an undeniable mark on American literature and Black America. Considered one of the single most controversial periods in the history of African-American literature, it inspired and reflected the political and social activism of the 1960s and 1970s and challenged societal ideals, producing the powerful works of poets Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Quincey Troup and the Last Poets. In this volume the dynamic Black Arts Movement is explored through selections of poetry from the most significant poets of the period, complemented by biographies that discuss the scope and content of each writer's work, as well as his or her historical significance and impact to the literary world. This is the second volume in the Poetry from the Masters series.

Hey Black Child
ISBN: 0316360309

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2017

Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins.

Hey black child,
Do you know who you are?
Who really are?

Do you know you can be
What you want to be
If you try to be
What you can be?

This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.


  • School Library Journal Top 20 Books of the Year Pick, Starred Reviews - Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly , Hey Black Child

    Speaking Engagements

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