Brooks, Gwendolyn

The first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first black woman to hold the post of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, Gwendolyn Brooks was a poet who was admired for her linguistic acuity and use of established forms as well as free verse. A lifelong resident of Chicago, Brooks often wrote about the urban experiences of African Americans, including black women and mothers. Active in educating young people, Brooks gave readings in schools, prisons, and hospitals; established Poet Laureate Awards for Illinois students; and founded the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago workshop for teenage gang members.

Born on June 7, 1917, Brooks grew up in a household that nurtured her early aptitude for writing poetry. By 1945, her first collection of ...

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