1889 – Claude McKay was born in Sunny Ville, Jamaica, British West Indies on the 15th of September, the son of Thomas Francis and Ann Elizabeth (Edwards) McKay. By Jamaican standards, McKay’s family was fairly well off having received land from the bride’s and the groom’s fathers. Claude was the last of eleven children born to Thomas and Ann (Hannah, in some texts) McKay.
1913 – He left Jamaica, just after he turned twenty, Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads were published. For seventeen months, laude McKay was a policeman.
– He came to the United States and enrolled in Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute with the intent to study agriculture.
1914 – He left Tuskegee and enrolled at Kansas State College where he remained. He then went to new York.
1915 – 1918 – He worked as a waiter and a porter. During this period he published his work in small literary magazines, such as The Seven Arts Magazine, Pearson’s, then edited by Frank Harris, and The Liberator.
1918 – 1919 – He went abroad, visited England and lived in London for more than a year.
1919 – 1922 – On his return to New York, McKay joined the staff of Liberator magazine as associate editor and continued in that position, a period in which Max Eastman was then the editor.
1920 – He compiled Spring in New Hampshire and Other Poems.
1922 – Completed Harlem Shadows, a work of poetry considered a landmark of the Harlem Renaissance.
1928 – 1953 – In France, he began to write prose, including three three novels; Home to Harlem, a best-seller that won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature; Banjo, and Banana Bottom. He would later write a collection of short stories, Gingertown; a book of autobiography and travel, A Long Way from Home, and another autobiographical work, Harlem: Negro Metropolis. His final work Selected Poems was published posthumously.
1948 – Until his death in Chicago on the 22nd of May, He never left the United States. His interest in communism dwindled, according to Sister Mary Anthony.