EXPIRED: 04/02/10 – Carolyn Rodgers, 69, was a young girl living on Chicago’s South Side, in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Her father was a welder. Her mother was a homemaker. Both were readers who encouraged an early love of books in their children. Rodgers took that love one step further. Dealing with the difficult issues of African-American identity and culture in the turbulent 60’s she started writing as well.
But her form of expression was poetry.
Writings like “Some of Me Beauty” and “Poem for Some Black Women” became rallying cries for newly militant African-American women.
During the vibrant Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s, Rodgers studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks and put together the Organization of Black American Culture, a noted literary collective. She quickly became recognized for poems that delved into the problems and challenges facing African-American women while ultimately celebrating women’s ability to overcome.
Her poetry was collected in volumes including “Paper Soul,” “Songs of a Black Bird” and “How I got ovah.”
Ms. Rodgers also wrote short stories and was an accomplished critic and essayist who produced well-regarded explorations of the new wave of African-American poetry in publications like Negro Digest/Black World.
And just last year, Rodgers was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.