Distinguished Student Work

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Gwendolyn Brooks was a black poet who initially conformed to the writing expectations set by white poets during the 1930s. Specifically, her writing resembled that of Euro-American poets, making black audiences reluctant to read her work. However, in 1967, Brooks had a literary awakening that led her to the black consciousness: the belief that black artists should be writing for black audiences through the expression of black experiences. Brooks used her gift as a talented poet to resonate with the black youth in Chicago, instead of focusing on white audiences. She took the many tragedies, such as discrimination and racism, that black people faced, and turned them into art that would inspire many. Brooks was a supporter of the Black Arts Movement and constantly encouraged black artists to step out and to explore their own boundaries of creativity. This changed the way that society perceived black art and served as a stepping stone for black artists in Chicago. Furthermore, her works inspired and continue to inspire black communities through the tragedy and struggles highlighted within them.


  • Finalists in the Regional History Fair
  • Finalists in the Chicago Metro Fair
  • Finalists in the Illinois History Fair
  • SUPERIOR mark at 2019 Illinois History Day at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This project scored 99 of 100 and a 98 of 100 from each of the judges



First Advisor

Dr. Eric Smith, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Gwendolyn Brooks: Tragedies that Led Her to the Black Consciousness



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