Gwendolyn Brooks : Dear Black Woman

Dear Black Woman,

It sometimes seems as if your words are not heard. I am saddened to say that this is a very true statement. Yet I am overjoyed to also say that it is because your words are read, interpreted, memorialized. Those words are visualized, captured, and blended to create stories and characters. Those words are then captured and quoted, placed amongst grand moments and toted as a universal truth. So yes sometimes hearing your words won’t do.

Very early in life I became fascinated with the wonders language can achieve. And I began playing with words.


Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950

Gwendolyn Brooks may be the ultimate mark of excellence when it comes to literary art. She undoubtedly paved the way for different level of respect when it comes to the likes of awards for Pulitzer as she is the first African American recipient of this coveted writing award yes even before the iconic Maya Angelou who would later garnish the same award nearly 25 years later. Gwendolyn knew no limits, born in small town Topeka, Kansas. She then traveled and undoubtedly spoke of not only discussion of the black family dynamic, while archiving the times in which she was so undoubtedly enduring. Collections like “Negro Hero” and “Gay Chaps at the Bar” talked of the heavy opposition of a country in which African American soldiers were deemed worthy enough to fight war for but not respected as societal equals. Her writing style would constantly evolve as she took turns through a progression of ballads, sonnets, and terza rima. Yet as she begin touching on even more gruesome and in depth subject matter her prosody in poetry began to take a veer towards colloquial free verse. This would allow her writings to provide depth, emotion, and most of all a tone of severity of topics on which were documented. Mainly due in part to her identification to true life events in which we’re current issues at the time such as the heinous murder and lynching of Emmett Till. Along with her think piece of how mysteriously and the vast variations black boys and men were systematically coming up dead in American society. In a particular piece titled “The Boy Who Died In My Alley” although she has not on record acknowledged it to be one isolated event the tone of the poem seems to be a first person perspective that touches vividly and closely.

Along with such one of my favorite and all time revered Renaissance Men was an inspiration for many of her literary works. She undoubtedly made a tribute to Mr. Paul Roberson for his contributions to the African American community, Love, and art. Her responsibility to uphold and not merely sit idle through her creation and art is historical at minimum and a clear lineage of our societies atrocities.

Without any shadow of second thought her works have sparked and been the birth of many poets to erupt and boldly take on the inhumanity of the times there after her. She would stand as the mother of poetic expression as far back as we can identify in the African American community, merely off of her awards and the time by which she stood out. In an era plagued by disrespect towards people of color & all women. She has stood tall so even in a society that seemed to want to silence her, HER WORDS POWERED THROUGH.

Dear Gwendolyn,

For the way that you stood up and never allowed stories to be held in I thank you, your bravery may not be documented in movies or garnished on a walk of fame. Yet the collection you left behind is a wealth. May your spirit rest well but remain diligent even in the turmoil of today’s climate. If at least for anything, know your words have been read & heard. Your story not washed away and your legacy not forgotten or overlooked!

Sincerely,

A Black Man

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