BrooksDay is the Guild Literary Complex’s annual celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks, held every year on June 7th, the anniversary of her birth. Since 2013, BrooksDay has been a marquee event in the Guild’s yearly calendar with many literary, cultural, and civic leaders from Chicago and beyond taking the stage to celebrate and honor Gwendolyn Brooks, former Poet Laureate of Illinois and the first African American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize. BrooksDay honors her legacy as an artist and an iconic figure of generosity and civic conscience in Chicago and the nation.
Thursday June 7th
3 – 5pm @ the Arts Incubator in Washington Park
301 E. Garfield Blvd., 2nd floor (fully accessible)
Each year’s celebration has been unique, but each has commemorated Gwendolyn Brooks’s artistic achievements, her legendary generosity toward other poets, her influence as a pathbreaking cultural figure in Chicago and the nation, and her well-deserved stature as an iconic poet of modern Chicago, through public performances of her work. Last year’s spectacular BrooksDay@nite was a flagship event in the City of Chicago’s celebration of Brooks’s 100th birthday, featuring one hundred one-minute performances, a reception, and more at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.
This year, which marks the 101st anniversary of Brook’s birth, will be a more contained version of BrooksDay than in years past, in part to allow time to attend the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s Gwendolyn Brooks statue unveiling in Gwendolyn Brooks Park afterward.
Guild Board President Andrea Change will emcee, with confirmed readers to include Bill Ayers, Nora Brooks Blakely, Nicole Bond, Reginald Gibbons, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Krystal Grover-Webb, Jyreika Guest, Angela Jackson, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Eric Charles May, Haki Madhubuti, Marty McConnell, Ydalmi Noriega, Nikki Patin, Timothy David Rey, Mario, Willie Williams, and more…
& Join us after BrooksDay for the Gwendolyn Brooks statue unveiling in Brooks Park, just a short drive (or long walk) from the Arts Incubator. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, in partnership with sculptor Margot McMahon, Chicago Park District, the Poetry Foundation, and Brooks Permissions, will unveil Gwendolyn Brooks: The Oracle of Bronzeville, a larger-than-life bronze portrait of Gwendolyn Brooks. This will be the very first sculpture of an African American woman, and also the very first sculpture of a woman poet, in any Chicago park. The unveiling, which is part of the Night Out in the Parks series, will run from 6-8 p.m. and include readings, performances, and tributes in Gwendolyn Brooks Park, 4542 S. Greenwood Ave.
Co-sponsored by Brooks Permissions, UChicago Arts + Public Life, and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
In 2017 the City of Chicago and its myriad arts organizations celebrated Gwendolyn Brooks on the centennial of her birth. BrooksDay@nite was a marquee event for these celebrations of Brooks on her 100th birthday, with performances at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts featuring:
Tyehimba Jess, Angela Jackson, Haki Madhubuti, Nate Marshall, Kevin Coval, Marcus Dunlevy, Runako Jahi, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Patricia Smith ,Tara Betts, C. Russell Price, Natasha Estevez, Mario Smith, Nicole Bond, Judith Heineman, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Eva Miller, Britteney Black Rose Kapri, Nora Brooks Blakely, Tracie D. Hall, Peter Kahn, Christian JaLon, Val Gray Ward, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Reg Gibbons, Michael Puican, Aurora Performance Group, Maggie Brown, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Cynthia A. Walls, Sketch N’Tyme, Shahari Moore, Zahra Baker, A.J. McLenon, Shanta Nurullah.
Here are just some of the photos from BrooksDay@nite, the Official Centennial Birthday Party celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks
There are many more photos on of the BrooskDay@Nite celebration.
You can view all the photos from the night by clicking here!
Nora Brooks Blakely talks about her mother’s legacy at the 2016 BrooksDay Preview event held at the Museum of Contemporary Art. May 3, 2016
Performances and Readers for BrooksDay 2016 at the Chicago Cultural Center featured:
Kofi Ademola | Quraysh Ali Lansarna | FM Supreme | Fatimah Asghar | Babu Atiba
Aurora Performance Group | Bill Ayers | Tiff Beatty | Nora Brooks Blakely
Michelle Boone | Rosellen Brown | Kristina Colon |Kimberly Dixon- Mays
Mama Edie | Kai El’Zabar | Calvin Forbes | M’read Green | Natasha Estevez
Val Gray Ward | Duriel Harris | Jill Hopkins | Angela Jackson | Bee Kapri | K’Love
Haki Madhubuti | Page May | Toni Nealie | Julie Nesbitt | Peter O’Leary
Sandra Opoku | Elise Paschen | Coya Paz | Rebirth | C.Russell Price
Tim Samuelson | Sketch N Tyme | Javon Smith | Elizabeth Taylor | Stephen Young
Emcees for 2016 were Andrea Change, Kevin Coval, Aviya Kushner, and Mario Smith.