Gwendolyn Brooks

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The Life of Gwendolyn BrooksGwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka Kansas, June 7, 1917, to Keziah and David Brooks. As she grew up her parents noticed her gift for writing. Therefore her mother started exposing her, at the age seven, to many forms of literature. Her parents were very strict and did not allow her to play with the neighborhood children. Being deprived from social aspects she grew up with very little friends and was very shy, well into her adult life. After graduating high school she went to Wilson Junior College and graduated in 1936.

Some of her early writings, or verses, were in the Chicago Defender. In 1939 Gwendolyn married Henry Blakely and had two children. In 1945 she wrote her first book, A Street in Brozeville. In 1949 Annie Allen was published and it won her the Pulitzer Prize award for poetry in 1950, becoming the first African American woman to receive such a prestigious award.

In 1953 Brooks published her first Novel Maud Martha. In 1963 she published Selected Poems and got her first teaching job at Chicago?s Columbia College. In 1968 she published her new major collection of poetry, In the Mecca, and she was also named poet laureate for the state of Illinois. In 1976 she became the first African American to receive and American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. She received over 50 honorary doctorates from numerous colleges and universities. She has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and has served as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. In 1900 she became a professor of English at Chicago State University. She died at the age of 83, Sunday, December 3, 2000.

What Ms. Brooks did for us.

Gwendolyn Brooks was a great and powerful woman because she had a determined spirit...