Event—Public Programming

"America needs a voice like hers": Gwendolyn Brooks and A Street in Bronzeville (1945)


First edition from the Newberry collection. Call Number: PS3503.R7244 S8 1945

As part of a citywide celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks marking the one-hundredth anniversary of her birth, the Newberry will gather poets, scholars, historians, and archivists to discuss the historical context of Brooks' groundbreaking first book of poems, A Street in Bronzeville. Published in in August 1945—the same month that World War II ended—the collection expresses the rich complexities of life on Chicago's South Side within the larger fight for democracy both at home and abroad.

When Richard Wright read the book in manuscript draft, he realized, "America needs a voice like hers."

Watch CAN TV's video recording of most of this program. Explore a Quick Guide to related materials in the Newberry collection.


Download a PDF flyer for this program to post and distribute.

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