Born: 7 June 1917
Died: 3 December 2000
Birthplace: Topeka, Kansas
Best known as: The first African American to win a Pulitzer for poetry
Gwendolyn Brooks was a Chicago poet, the poet laureate of Illinois and the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Brooks's first collection of poems, A Street in Bronzeville, was published in 1945 to widespread critical acclaim. Her 1949 collection, Annie Allen, won the 1950 Pulitzer for poetry; she was the first black poet, male or female, to win the prize. During her long and celebrated career she taught at a number of colleges, raised a family and published poems, a novel (1953's Maud Martha) and three books of memoirs. In 1968 she succeeded Carl Sandburg as the poet laureate of Illinois, a post she held until her death. Her poetry collections include Selected Poems (1963), Riot (1969), The Near Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986) and Blacks (1987).
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