Autograph postcard

As Brooks became further engaged with the ideas of heritage and unity aligned with the Black Arts movement, it became increasingly important for her to travel to what she called “Mother Africa”—a trip she would take several times throughout her later life. On her first African journey in 1971, she visited Nairobi, where she was filled with both “warm joy and an inexpressible sadness” for the history that separated her from the land. In this postcard written to her friends and former editors Roslyn and Bill Targ, Brooks describes Kenya as “beautiful beyond belief.” Brooks found the experience so valuable that, after becoming a writing teacher, she periodically subsidized her students’ trips not only to Kenya but also Ghana and South Africa.

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000)
Autograph postcard, signed: Nairobi, to William and Roslyn Targ, 1971 July 20.
The Carter Burden Collection of American Literature; MA 8569.21
Reprinted By Consent of Brooks Permissions