Verses Versus Discrimination: The Story of Gwendolyn Brooks

Enlightening the world with her words is Gwendolyn Brooks’ goal behind her poetry. Well-known for her enticing and honest works, the female poet created a record for being the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Award for her book Annie Allen (1949). After winning the award, Brooks continued to work hard in literary arts for imparting her messages against discrimination and race prejudice. Through the years, she utilized the fame she gained by using her sonnets and free verses to change the way society looks in the Black community. The iconic poet maximized her creativity in the best way that she can to tell the world that race prejudice is not okay and will never be okay. Thus, she is looked up as an inspiration not only for the Black community but also across the whole globe for her literary arts and character.


On June 1917, Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born in an African American family in Topeka, Kansas. When she was just six weeks old, her family decided to move to Chicago wherein the vibrant beginning of her childhood has taken place.  During her late childhood, she attended three high schools which include Englewood High School, Wendell Phillips Academy High School, and Hyde Park High School. Due to some of these institutions, Brooks was exposed early to racial discrimination. Instead of looking at it as a bad experience, she used the racial prejudice that she encountered as an inspiration for her future writing career that she started when she was young. In the year of 1936, she began working on publishing her pieces right after she graduated from Wilson Junior College.

The Narrative Style

Brooks described her writing style as “folksy narrative” wherein she utilizes different styles such as sonnets, free verse, and many more. The poems she wrote generally tell the story about the daily life of the Black community. For instance, A Street in Bronzeville and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Annie Allen portray the situations that are often happening in the Black urban poor. Brooks’ poems are like social documentaries about the unseen and unobserved aspects of the life of people with color.

The Army of Words

Through her eternal words and living characters, Gwendolyn Brooks aimed to improve the life of her fellowmen in the best way that she can. She maximized the power of rhymes and stanzas in imparting her compassion to gradually remove the undeserved discrimination that is felt by the minorities. Her verses have comforted those who feel oppressed and she made them feel that they are not alone in their journey. The wit of her mind embossed the eternal impact among the hearts of those who have read her free verses and sonnets.

If you have always been afraid to speak up about something that you think can give a great benefit for others, always remember Brooks’ courage to put her thoughts into words. This iconic poet used the creative side of her brain to put her musings into the paper in the most creative way. You should definitely look at her as an inspiration to use your passion for creating a change in this world.

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