& Writers in Brookland
This is a partial listing writers and artists who lived in Brookland.
One of the seminal poets in American history, and D.C.'s first Poet Laureate, Sterling Brown lived the majority of his life in Brookland in a home on Kearney Street.
A poet, essayist, and teacher at Howard University, Brown was born in Washington, D.C. in 1901. He was educated at Dunbar High School and received a bachelor's degree from Williams College where he was Phi Beta Kappa and received a Masters at Harvard University. He taught at Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri and at Fisk University in Nashville before he going on to his great work at Howard University in 1926.
In 1932 his first book, Southern Road, was published. His poetry was influenced by jazz and the blues and, like Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, and other Black poets of the period, his writing expresses his concerns about race in America. Brown was considered part of the artistic tradition of the Harlem Renaissance although he spent the majority of his life in Washington, DC. What is not acknowledged enough is that the "Harlem" renaissance was firmly seeded in Washington, DC through the work of DC-based authors like Brown, Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Richard Bruce Nugent, and others.
Brown turned to writing essays and focused on his career as a teacher at Howard, where he taught until his retirement in 1969. He finally published his second book of poetry, The Last Ride of Wild Bill, in 1975.
Sterling Brown died in 1989 of Leukemia. He was eulogized in the nation's papers as having "helped to establish Afro-American literary criticism" and having "taught many of the nation's black scholars and writers." His many students included Amiri Baraka, Stokely Carmichael, Paula Giddings, Toni Morrison, psychologist Dr. Kenneth B. Clark and Ossie Davis. Brown is rightly credited with having edited the 'first comprehensive anthology of African-American writing" and having designed and taught the first course in Afro-American literature.
Brookland lovers should note Brown's amazing response in 1974 to a column published in the old Washington Star. His letter reveals his profound love for Brookland.
After his death a memorial plaque was placed outside of his house naming it "The Poet's House."
the most difficult things to contend with in a hospital is
assumption on the part of the staff that because you have lost your gall bladder
you have also lost your mind. Jean Kerr
a man is like buying something you've been admiring for a
time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn't
always go with everything else in the house. Jean Kerr
Mary was like being in a telephone booth with an open umbrella
-no matter which way you turned, you got it in the eye. Jean Kerr
can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's
just possible you haven't grasped the situation. Jean Kerr
have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes
along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you
with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out. Jean Kerr
the feeling that the feeling you have
isn't permanent. Jean Kerr
MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS
artists and writers who lived in Brookland include
Pearl Bailey and Ralph Bunche.