Chicago State University

Chicago State University Honors Late Chicago Pulitzer Prize Winner Gwendolyn Brooks with Library Naming Ceremony

NEwsReportUSC(Chicago, IL) – Chicago State University, one of Illinois’ oldest public universities, today announced the renaming of the university’s library to honor the legacy of world-renowned poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. On October 18th, Chicago State University paid homage to Brooks, the first Black person to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950.

 “The renaming of the campus library after Gwendolyn Brooks is only fitting and long overdue,” says Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott. “Gwendolyn Brooks has had an immense impact on Chicago State, our faculty, our students, and our community through her kindness, her mentorship, and the unparalleled legacy she left.”

 Nora Brooks Blakely, daughter of Gwendolyn Brooks, had this to add, “It is not just the naming of the library that is so important, it is all of the elements that are being discussed that can become a part of the library,” she said.  “Like placing her quotes around the library.  People will be able to see her words. For example, her quote ‘Even if you are not ready for day, it can not always be night.’  It is all of these quotes and messages that I hope will live, as long as the library stands.”

 While at Chicago State University, Gwendolyn Brooks inspired faculty, students and leadership alike with her kindness and her dedication to teaching young students. In addition to being the first Black Person to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Gwendolyn Brooks won the Robert Frost Medal in 1989, the National Medal of Arts in 1995, and was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death.

 The naming ceremony was held at Chicago State University on the evening of October 18th. The naming ceremony featured special guests Poet, Tyehimba Jess, Writer, Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Activist and Author, Dr. Cornel West, and Gwendolyn Brooks’ daughter, Nora Brooks Blakely.

 The naming ceremony is followed by the rebirth of the Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers’ Conference on October 19th in the Gwendolyn Brooks Library. The event is free, but seating is limited. To RSVP or for more information on the Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers’ Conference, visit

 *Interview requests available for Nora Brooks Blakely (daughter of Gwendolyn Brooks) and Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott*