Last modified on September 26, 2018, at 17:11

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, (1917-2000),[1] was a black American poet. Her works include Annie Allen (1949), In the Mecca (1968), and Family Pictures (1970). She won a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen.[2]

Life and Works

Brooks was born June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, but raised in Chicago.[3] Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her paternal grandfather allegedly fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. She graduated from Wilson Junior College and worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[4] As a teenager, she began writing and publishing, and became famous nationally for her A Street in Bronzeville (1945).[5] In 1950, she became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize.[6]

While her earlier works, such as Maud Martha, were in more erudite language and complex descriptions of African American daily life, in the late sixties she began to use simpler language and vernacular.[7] She won a great many awards, including:[8]

  • Poet Laureate of Illinois (1968)
  • Induction in the National Women's Hall of Fame (1988)
  • National Medal of Arts (1995)

She died of cancer on December 3, 2000 in Illinois and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery.


  1. Watkins, Mel. "Gwendolyn Brooks, 83, Passionate Poet, Dies." The New York Times. Obituary.
  2. The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York, 1993.
  3. "Gwendolyn Brooks." Poets.
  4. "Gwendolyn Brooks - Poet Page." Poem Hunter.
  5. "Brooks, Gwendolyn."
  6. "Gwendolyn Brooks." Poetry Out Loud.
  7. "Gwendolyn Brooks." Notable Biographies.
  8. "Gwendolyn Brooks - Biography." Poem Hunter.

External links