Gwendolyn Brooks was born on June 17, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas. She graduated from Wilson Junior College in Chicago in 1936 and received her L.H.D. (Doctor of Humane Letters) from Columbia College in 1964. She was the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including Children Coming Home, Blacks, To Disembark, The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems, Riot, In the Mecca, The Bean Eaters, and A Street in Bronzeville. In 1950, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Annie Allen. She wrote numerous other books including a novel, Maud Martha, Report from Part One: An Autobiography, a book of poetry for children Bronzeville Boys and Girls, and several children's fiction books. She was named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She died on December 3, 2000.