Angelina Weld Grimké's troubled family history almost willfully theatricalizes key themes of America's racial history. Her father Archibald was the child of a South Carolina slaveholder and a slave on his plantation. Her great aunts on her father's side were Southern white abolitionists. Grimké's father married a white Bostonian, but the marriage disintegrated soon after Angelina's birth and she never saw her mother again. She was educated at Cushing and Carleton academies and became interested in dramatizing the country's racial conflicts.
Born in San Francisco and raised in San Rafael, California, Robert Hass was educated at St. Mary's College and at Stanford University, where he received a Ph.D. In addition to six books of poetry, he has written criticism and translated European poets into English, including several volumes by Czeslaw Milosz. He has also published The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994) and has taught at several schools, including Buffalo and Berkeley.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents who were a postal worker and a medical stenographer, Michael S. Harper moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1951. While at Los Angeles City, then State, Colleges in the late 1950s, he also worked in the post office and met a number of articulate black coworkers blocked from more challenging employment. Finally settling on a writing career, he attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the only black writer in his class and forced to live in segregated housing.