Gwendolyn Brooks: A Life in Bronzeville
Saturday, June 17, 2017
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at University of Chicago
915 E. 60th Street, Chicago
Bus Tour (SOLD OUT), Exhibition, Reception, and Discussion
Gwendolyn Brooks was raised and educated on the South Side, taught at several local colleges, and set much of her poetry in the city. With the publication of A Street in Bronzeville in 1945, Brooks won a Guggenheim Fellowship, became one of Mademoiselle’s “Ten Young Women of the Year,” and generally triggered an avalanche of praise that would continue unabated until her death. With Annie Allen, in 1950, Brooks became the first African-American to capture a Pulitzer Prize; she was poet laureate of Illinois and the United States; she was named National Endowment for the Arts’ Jefferson Lecturer; is a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame; and has four Illinois schools and a library named in her honor. In conjunction with her 80th birthday in 1997, Mayor Richard Mr. Daley declared Gwendolyn Brooks Week, at which 80 performers and writers from around the world presented her gifts.
This year, on June 7, Brooks would have turned 100.
To honor this momentous occasion, Our Miss Brooks 100 has put together a sensational year of programming. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is contributing to the rich tapestry of events with a June 17 tour of Gwendolyn Brooks’ Bronzeville haunts, followed by a reception, discussion and exhibition viewing at the Logan Center.
The bus tour begins at 10 a.m. from the Logan Center. The bus will make stops at Gwendolyn Brooks’ childhood home, her longtime Chicago residence, Third World Press, The Defender, the park named in her honor, and her gravesite, among other highlights. Along the way, we’ll pause to observe other significant sites associated with Brooks and other legendary South Side writers.
At noon, we’ll return to the Logan Center, where a reception awaits. We’ll encourage guests to eat and drink while they view Cultural Families: Chicago Writers and Their Communities. Sculptress Margot McMahon’s exhibit features four CLHOF inductees who were instrumental in shaping unique communities: Brooks with her many student protégés; Alice Hayes with her artistic residency; Richard Wright with radical thinkers; Hemingway with ex-patriots. All four writers were committed to making families of artists, and all four were committed to social justice.
At one p.m., Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Founding Executive Director Donald G. Evans, who will narrate the bus tour, leads a panel discussion about Brooks’ life and legacy. Nora Brooks Blakely, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Haki Madhubuti will provide insight into all things Gwendolyn Brooks, including stories about the sites just seen on the bus tour and exhibition. These three writers and scholars form Brooks’ close personal circle: Nora is her daughter, Haki is her “cultural son,” and Quraysh is her protégé. All three are keepers of her legacy.
Registration is required for the bus tour. Registration fee for adults is $25; registration fee for children (under 18) and seniors (over 65) is $15. We will meet in the Logan Center café to sign in for the bus tour, leave for our first stop at 10 a.m. and return at noon.
This program is a collaboration between Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Chicago Writers Association, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and Our Miss Brooks 100.