A Poet in Bronzeville

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 in Kansas to David Anderson Brooks, a custodial worker, and Keziah Brooks, a schoolteacher. Shortly after Gwendolyn’s birth, her parents moved the family to Chicago, where she would reside for the rest of her life. Raised in the South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, Brooks started exploring creative writing at a young age. She kept a poetry journal from the age of eleven, and by the time she turned thirteen, her poems were being published in a local newspaper as well as a national magazine, American Childhood. Quiet by nature, a young Brooks used poetry to speak the truths that her family, experiences, and surroundings taught her. She found those surroundings to be a rich subject for her poems.

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000)
Annie Allen
Frontispiece by Ernest Alexander (1921–1974)
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949
The Carter Burden Collection of American Literature; PML 184291
Used with the permission of the Estate of Ernest Alexander.