Although Gwendolyn Brooks may have struggled being a black woman, she succeeded in becoming a black, American woman poet and influencing black people of all times.
On June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, the beautiful baby girl named Gwendolyn Brooks was born. She and her family returned to Chicago when she was only a month old. Her mother, Keziah Wims, was a schoolteacher in Topeka, Kansas, and her father, David Brooks, spent most of his life in the janitorial service. In 1938, she married Henry Lowington Blakely. They birthed a son, Henry Lowington, Jr., and a daughter, Nora. .
As Brooks was growing up in Chicago, she attended many schools. At age fourteen, she was enrolled in a white school, Hyde Park High School. She then transferred to an all-black school, Phillips High, and then again to Englewood High. After graduating in 1934, she entered into Wilson Junior College. There she majored in literature and graduated in 1938. .
While attending these schools, Brooks began her career. At the age of seven she began to write poetry. During her early teen years, her poem "Eventide," appeared in a famous magazine of the time, "American Childhood." Over seventy-five of her poems were printed in the "Chicago Defender," a local newspaper. At age sixteen, she met James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes, two famous African American poets of the day. Brooks is the author of almost thirty books, including a novel, Maud Martha, and an autobiography, Report from Part One. Many of her poems represent a long novel of the experiences of African Americans in Chicago. Examples of her well learned craft to combine Harlem Renaissance and Modernist poetry could be found in her book called, A Street in Bronzeville. The year 1968 is significant for it divided her early work from her later work. The early work focused on racial discrimination, applauded African American heroes, and showed European-American styles.