"I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker."
- - Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 “ 2000)
A biography snapshot of African-American poet, Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 - December 3, 2000).
She published her first poem at age 14.
Her beginnings were humble. She was born in Topeka, Kansas but her family moved to Chicago (the South side, i.e. with the rest of the poor folks) when she was young. When she grew up, she attended Wilson Junior College in Chicago, graduating in 1936.
She was the first African-American (male or female) to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize; in 1950, the category for Poetry. Her award-winning poetry was titled "Annie Allen".
Ms. Brooks utilized her poetic prowess for expressing her emotions, beliefs and perspectives. She had very strong opinions about family life, war and social ethics. Current events of her day, led her to adapt her writing style from humor and irony to a more deeply serious tone in order to address politics and racism and the real assassinations of activists Malcolm X and Medgar Evers.
Over the years, her works have reached a wide and diverse audience. She has earned the respect of many for her sincerity, quiet strength, dedication and her life's accomplishments have left an indelible mark in literature and in history.
Ms. Brooks departed this life on December 3, 2000, at age 83.
To sum up her writings in her own words: "Poetry is life distilled."
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