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(7 June 1917 – 3 December 2000 / Topeka, Kansas)

Gwendolyn Brooks
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Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was an African-American poet. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.


Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, the first child of David Anderson Brooks and Keziah Wims. Her mother was a former school teacher who had chosen that field because she could not afford to attend medical school. (Family lore held that her paternal grandfather had escaped slavery to join Union forces during the American Civil War.) When Brooks was six weeks old, her family moved to Chicago, Illinois during the Great Migration; from then... more »

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  • ''They had never had one in the house before.
    The strangeness of it all. Like unleashing
    A lion, really. Poised
    To pounce. A puma. A panther. A black
    Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), U.S. poet. "Bronzeville Woman in a Red Hat."
  • ''The lariat lynch-wish I deplored./The loveliest lynchee was our Lord.''
    Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), African American poet and fiction writer. "The Chicago Defender Sends a Man to Little Rock," lines 59-60 (1957). The C...
  • ''It is brave to be involved,
    To be not fearful to be unresolved.''
    Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), U.S. poet. "Do not be afraid of no."
  • ''The little lifting helplessness, the queer
    Whimper-whine; whose unridiculous
    Lost softness softly makes a trap for us.
    And makes a curse.''
    Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), U.S. poet. "The children of the poor," 1.
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