Below is a schedule for Centennial Brooks, April 6-8, 2017. All events are free and open to the public. Entry is first come first serve. 

For additional UChicago events related to Our Miss Brooks 100, click here. Share the events on Facebook here.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Events will take place at the DuSable Museum, 740 East 56th Place Chicago, Illinois 60637.

Evening kick-off at DuSable
7:00 – 9:00 pm

A reading featuring Brooks’ contemporaries and canonical poets Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti and Angela Jackson, with a special appearance by Nora Brooks Blakely, Gwendolyn Brooks’ daughter. Followed by a reception.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Events will take place at Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. 

Opening reception and welcome

Chicago, Race and Space
10:00am – 12:00pm
This panel will focus on the relationship between Brooks’ work and Chicago’s urban landscape. This includes the poet’s engagement with housing issues, street culture, and public space, her connection to mid-century architecture and urban planning, and how her work may help us gain fresh perspectives on contemporary urban struggles for social justice, racial equality, and economic parity. Moderated by Kenneth Warren. Panelists include Jacqueline Goldsby, Adrienne Brown, and Liesl Olson.

Lunch Break
12:00 – 1:00pm

Female Contemporaries
1:00 – 3:00pm
This panel will look at the relationship between feminism and the Black Arts Movement and the impact of this relationship on literary history. How did Brooks and her female contemporaries influence and navigate the connections and conflicts between these two movements? Moderated by Deborah Nelson. Panelists include Evie Shockley and Margo Natalie Crawford.

3:00 – 3:30 pm

Career & Reception
3:30 – 5:30pm
The third and final academic panel will look at the arc of Brooks’ career and the reception of her work. What other ways might we mark the phrases, moods, or pivots of Brook’s career in addition to her much discussed Black Arts “turn” or “awakening” in 1967? Moderated by Adrienne Brown. Panelists include Sonya Posmentier, Anthony Reed, Lawrence Jackson.

5:30 – 7 pm

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Events will take place at Logan Center for the Arts915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.


Opening reception and welcome 9:00am

Roundtable focused on In the Mecca 9:30am – 11am
This roundtable will look at Brooks 1968 poem In the Mecca, which is often cited as the work that marked her political and aesthetic “turn” or“radicalization.” In the Mecca is about a mother searching for her daughter in the Mecca Flats, a square block size South Side hotel built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition that became an apartment building, then an “overcrowded slum” during the Great Migration. Moderated by Quraysh Ali Lansana. Discussants include Cheryl Clarke, Adrian Matejka, Major Jackson and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

Canonization & Publication
11:15am – 12:30pm This will be structured as a discussion of key poems from different periods of Brooks’ career. Each discussant will present and discuss one poem. Discussants include Gregory Pardlo, Ed RobersonIshion Ira Hutchinsonand Nate Marshall.  Moderated by Liesl Olson.

Lunch Break
12:30 – 1:30 pm

Black Arts & Music/Performance
1:30 – 3:00 pm
This dialogue will look at questions of Brooks as a reader and performer, and the role of music and performance in the Black Arts Movement more generally. Discussants include Nicole Mitchell, Jacqueline Stewart, and Ivy Wilson.

On Rioting and Riot
3:15 – 4:30 pm
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” Martin Luther King, Jr. This will be structured as a roundtable looking at Brooks’ examinations of race and class tensions from the Civil Rights Era and their deep connections to current tensions. Discussants include David Baker, Meghan O’Rourke, and Carl Phillips.

Sherry Poetry Reading
5:00 – 6:30 pm
Saturday’s afternoon reading will showcase the work of the 2017 Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poets, Ed Roberson, Patricia Smith and Ishion Ira Hutchinson.

Dinner Break
6:30 – 7:30 pm

Concert – Jamila Woods and Nicole Mitchell
7:30 – 9:30 pm
(Doors will open at 7pm)

“Gwendolyn Brooks: New Art and Anthem” is a suite of new music composed by creative flutist Nicole Mitchell and performed by Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble. The work features select poems by Gwendolyn brooks, read by Chicago poets. The poems, curated by Quraysh Ali Lansana, artistic director of “Our Miss Brooks 100,” illuminate Brooks’ role as a major thinker in Chicago’s Black Arts movement.

Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

To Those of My Sister Who Kept Their Naturals


The Chicago Picasso

The Coora Flower

A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, A Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon

To Black Women

Sunset in the City

To the Diaspora

Co-commissioned by the Logan Center for the Arts and Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Black Earth Ensemble include Nichole Mitchelle (flutes, composition), Miguel de la Cerna (piano), Joshua Abrams (bass), and Marcus Evans (drumset), featuring poets CM Burroughs, Kristiana Rae Colon, Roger Reeve, and avery r. young. 

No reservation required, entry is first come first serve. 

Share the event on Facebook for the Concert. 

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