Gwendolyn Brooks – Pulitzer Prize Winner

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American person to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature. She wrote many poems about being black during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Her poems were so vivid. She would write about struggling black people both men and women in a way that would capture the reader. It was in college that I learned of Gwendolyn Brooks and her brilliance when I read “The Mother”.

Her first poetry anthology, “A Street in Bronzeville”, gained the attention of literary experts in 1945. She was praised for both her poetic skill and her powerful descriptions about the black experience during the time. The Bronzeville poems were her first published collection. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. She was the first black to do so. But, it didn’t stop there because she also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Awesome right?

One of my favorite poems by Ms. Brooks is “The Mother”. I read this in college and cried. This poem is so gut wrenching that I knew at that moment that I wanted to write. To put on paper all the emotions and observations of the world I live in. Gwendolyn Brooks, like Maya Angelou, helped give me my voice and for that I am thankful.

The Mother – by Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

 

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

 

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All.
gwendolyn-brooks
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The Inventor: Mark Dean

It’s Black History Month folks!

As a black woman, I wanted to highlight some of the accomplishments of black people who are living. Each week, I will be researching and sharing tidbits about black people who are and/or have done great things. Bear with me because I promise you will learn something and I will keep it interesting.

First up is…

Dr. Mark Dean (March 2, 1957-present)

Dr. Dean was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee (my home state). He is a computer scientist, engineer and inventor. He landed a job at IBM after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in engineering. While working at IBM he developed many new technologies. He currently holds three of their original nine patents. Impressive huh?

Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus that allow devices like disk drives, printers and monitors to be plugged directly into computers. Where would we be if we didn’t have this early technology?

Dean’s research led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, he led a team of engineers to create the first gigahertz chip. Both are invaluable in terms of what we use today. Heck, I have a 24 inch computer monitor for my personal computer. Brilliant picture and color. Thanks Dr. Dean!

Dean has more 20 patents associated with his name. He is a brilliant man who was named an IBM fellow (first black ever to receive this award).He was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Cool huh?

When asked by PC World, December of 2014, of all the technology you’ve had a hand in creating, what are you most proud of? He replied:

“I am most proud of the PC and the team it took to make it happen. We developed a device that changed the way society works, learns and plays. It enabled the world to be more productive and entertained. How many times does someone get to work on something that had the impact the PC had on the world?”

MED-Seated-without-Hands