“I am not a scholar. I am a writer who loves to write and will always write.” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks
After graduating from high school, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) decided against pursuing a bachelor’s degree because she was that sure of her passion for writing. Now she has 70 honorary degrees, among other accomplishments like being the first Black author to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first Black woman to become the Poetry Consultant of the Library of Congress. Through her writing, Brooks brought millions of people into a slice of the joy, pain, and humanity of Black Americans. Starting in 1969, Brooks left Harper & Row to work with up-and-coming Black publishers as well, making sure that ownership and production of her work benefited the people in her work. Brooks directed all of her success into supporting her community in Chicago and young writers around the world. At the core of her service and poetry was the recognition of every person as a human being worthy of love and dignity.