Leaders in Black History: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Kansas to David Anderson Brooks and Keziah Cornnie.

Brooks was the first Black American to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first to be appointed as a poetry consultant for the Library of Congress.

Her works of poetry touch on subjects like racial inequality, identity, and politics.

One of her famous quotes reads, “Don’t let anyone call you a minority if you’re black or Hispanic or belong to some other ethnic group. You’re not less than anybody else,”

Brooks believed that all people are equal to one another. She was an advocate in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement.

In a 1986 interview with Alan Jabbar, director of the Library of Congress’ American Folklore division, Brooks tells the story of how she discovered the news.

Brooks was at home with her son. She stated that she had not paid the electricity bill when she got a call from a reporter that announced she was had won the Pulitzer Prize.

She “screamed over the telephone”, she said, at the news, and the following day reporters came to her residence.

Gwendolyn Brooks painted her voice across the page, and it speaks to generations of Blacks. Her inspiration for all writers, and encouragement parallels her activism.