Pulitzer Prize: is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. The award was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American Joseph Pulitzer who made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and the Pulitzer Prize is administered by Columbia University in New York City.
On this day 69 years ago Gwendolyn Brooks became the very first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize, May 1, 1950. Ms. Brooks won the prestigious award for her poetry specifically for her work Annie Allen. It was a 43-year gap between the initial awarding of the Pulitzer Prize to the year that Gwendolyn Brooks won her award. It was another 19-year gap between Gwendolyn Brook's winning her Pulitzer Prize and Moneta Sleet Jr. winning the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for his incredible historic work Deep Sorrow.
Since that time of Ms. Brooks's Pulitzer Prize-winning effort numerous other black artists have dawned the stage and joined the Pulitzer Prize Winner Circle. Individuals such as Isabelle Wilkerson, Alex Haley, Rita Dove, Charles Fuller, August Wilson, William Rasberry, Wynton Marsalis, David Levering Lewis, Clarence Williams, Gerald Boyd, Toni Morrison, E.R. Shipp, Norman Lockman, Kirk Scharfenberg, Clarence Page, Suzan-Lori Page, Colbert I. King, Leonard Pitts, Edward P. Jones, Michel DuCille, Natasha Treadway, Irwin Thompson, Eugene Robinson, Annette Gordon-Reed, Lynn Nottage, Cynthia Tucker, John White, Tracy K. Smith, Moneta Sleet Jr., Charles Gordone, James Alan McPherson, Alice Walker, Robin Givham, and a just a few others. In addition posthumously Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk each received citations for lifetime contributions to the arts.
However, the very first winner of the Pulitzer Prize was Gwendolyn Brooks and we must always recognize her poetic greatness. That is why I will spend a 1/2 hour reading aloud some of Gwendolyn Brooks's poems on my blog. Remember this day when Gwendolyn Brooks crashed the glass ceiling of racism and won deserved public recognition for her creative genius. Gwendolyn Brooks opened a closed door of racist thought and allow the light of wisdom and blackness to seep in. Thank you, Gwendolyn Brooks, for that marvelous achievement.