Arna Bontemps (bon-TAHM) contributed to many genres of literature. He decided to concentrate on writing poetry after moving to Harlem in 1924 and because he felt that the mind-set of the early artists, writers, and musicians who lived there was particularly attuned to the rhythm and sound of poetry. In the 1930’s, he turned to the novel as a vehicle for attempting to right the wrongs of an educational system that minimized black contributions to society, often devoting only two paragraphs to blacks—one dealing with Africa and the other with slavery in the Americas. His best-known novel, Black Thunder (1936), told the story of Gabriel Prosser, a slave who orchestrated an unsuccessful revolt in 1800. Hoping to gain a readership whose minds were less skeptical and more malleable than adults, he collaborated on several children’s books with Langston Hughes and Jack Conroy and wrote several of his own, including You Can’t Pet a Possum (1934). He later began to concentrate on history and biography for children with such books as The Story of George Washington Carver (1954) and Frederick Douglass: Slave, Fighter, Freeman (1959). He wanted young blacks to understand their racial past and gain a sense of pride in what blacks had achieved despite the obstacles they faced. Bontemps, indeed a prolific writer, was writing his autobiography when he died in 1973.