Donald Jeffrey Hayes

Donald Jeffrey Hayes was born on November 16, 1904, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1913, he and his family moved to Pleasantville, New Jersey, where Hayes attended high school and earned a reputation as a skilled debater. Hayes completed high school in Chicago in 1926. 

Though Hayes never published a volume of verse, his work was anthologized in The Poetry of the Negro, 1746–1949 (Doubleday, 1949), edited by Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes; Nancy Cunard’s Negro in 1934; Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen; and Ebony and Topaz (National Urban League, 1927), edited by Charles S. Johnson. Hayes’s poem “Esoteria” was published in the December 1929 / January 1930 issue of Contemporary Verse. Some of his poems were also later set to music by composer Zenobia Powell Perry in a cycle of songs titled Threnody, one of Powell’s most popular song cycles.