This Day in History: 1950-05-01

American poet, author, and teacher Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. A lifelong resident of Chicago, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death 32 years later. She was also named the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Learn more.