The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.
The words author, poet, and teacher can all associated with Gwendolyn Brooks. Brooks was just 13 when her first poem, "Eventide," was published. By age 17, she was a regular contributor to the Daily Defender, a newspaper serving the black community in Chicago and beyond. Her first book of poetry, "A Street in Bronzeville," appeared in 1945 and was followed by other major works like "Annie Allen" in 1949.
A year later Brooks would win the Pulitzer Prize, the first African American to do so, and in 1968 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois, an honor she held for the rest of her life. At age 68, she was named poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, again breaking barriers as the first African American woman appointed to this position. She lived in this white frame home in Bronzeville from 1953 - 1994 during this prolific time in her career.
Gwendolyn Brooks was a dominant figure in 20th-century poetry and a leading force in the Chicago Black Renaissance literary movement. Her style still influences current day writers who've compared the beat of her poetry to hip hop. For over seven decades, Brooks’ poetry provided a mirror that reflected the hopes, humor, and hardships of African American life experiences on Chicago’s South Side.
Gwendolyn Brooks is considered one of 10 great poets of the 20th century, whose work was honored with a US postage stamp in 2012.