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Treniece Mone on Gwendolyn Brooks

“The first Black author to win a Pulitzer.”

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote about life and injustices in Black communities in Chicago where she grew up. Her popular novels, Annie Allen and Maude Martha, depict the journeys of young Black women finding themselves in an unkind society. In 1950, Brooks was the first Black Pulitzer Prize winner for her work Annie Allen. A young poet herself, Treniece Mone, has been inspired by Brooks since reading "A Song in the Front Yard,” Brooks’ poem about a girl believing she is brave enough to explore the world beyond what she knows. In our film, Treniece recites from her own poem inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks called "Brooks and Her Books", "She holds us like her honey. And stores us not in jars, but on pages like her bread. She savors things. And we should do the same for her."

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.

Featured Woman

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in Black communities in Chicago where she lived. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois. In 1985, she was the first black woman appointed as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a post now known as Poet Laureate. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation.