CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968. Gwendolyn Brooks.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.

CORRESPONDENCE FROM GWENDOLYN BROOKS TO THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS CHARITY. 1968.

An archive of three (3) letters written and typed from Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) to two Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of Manitowoc Wisconsin. The two sisters, Sister Ritarose Stahl and Sister Carina Schisel (1917-2008), add their eyewitness account of what transpired (dated January 20, 2012). In the spring of 1968, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, was invited to give a poetry reading at the University of Wisconsin Manitowoc Extension. Both Sisters from the Christian Charity were also invited. Back in those days Manitowoc was a Sundown Community which meant that blacks were not allowed in town after sundown. After the reading and reception, Ms Brooks asked her host where she was to sleep that night. Her host had no clue but, he stated, she was not allowed in Manitowoc overnight. The Sisters came to her rescue and invited her to stay at their home, Holy Family College for the night. The next morning she attended the Mass in the Chapel and then had breakfast with the Sisters at the College. Then the Sisters took her to the bus which left Manitowoc at 8:00am.
The first letter in the group is an ALS on a 4 x 5 3/4 sheet of gray stock with mailing envelope. It is written on three sides and dated May 22, 1968, 80+ words that reads in part; "Dear Sisters / I shall never forget / your gentle kindness your / deep humanity. I shall / always gratefully return, in / memory / to the hours of strange peace I experienced / during my little stay with / you. Thank you"! Brooks then explains she is sending some of her books as well, "The store had to / re-order Bronzeville Boys and / Girls; but as soon as it is / here, I'll send it, too". Brooks signs "Bless you! / "Affectionately" Gwendolyn Brooks. Adding, "I'm sorry I'm / late. I've travelled / a great deal since / seeing you (nor is / the end of the Road / "at hand"!). Matching envelope addressed to the two Sisters (by name) with her return address. The second is a TLS with envelope dated in November, just under 50 words signed by the poet at the bottom. "Dear Sister / Indeed I do remember the lovely visit / at Holy Family College: / Thank you for remembering me, with such / a pleasant letter. / I am sending a copy of my new book, and / it is a pleasure to do so. / Please say "Hello!" to the dear people I / met. / Affectionately / Gwendolyn Brooks." The third short note is an ALS with envelope (addressed to both Sisters) dated 21 December 1972 (date stamp). "My best wishes / for a pleasant / holiday season / Sincerely / Gwendolyn Brooks". Also included is a poem (reproduced), one of her best, which has been annotated at the bottom. The poem WE REAL COOL was written in 1959 by Brooks and published in her book THE BEAN EATERS (1960).

We Real Cool.

The Pool Players
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

"street dialect
African Am. Male (written out by hand)"

Also included is a long typed paragraph, 14 lines, titled "Social Studies" Explaining the racial slurs and signs of the day. In part; "There was a sign in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1963, that warned, "NI**ER: Don't let the sun go down on you in our town!" This oral history appears in Loewen's book on sundown towns and is confirmed in a personal eamil from a PH.D., professor at William and Mary. Noting how he viewed living in the South differently from the North with regards to racism. He writes, "I only remember one sign. My family moved to Manitowoc in 1963 from Tennessee. I was in 8th grade. In the south there were plenty of lingering relics of the segregation period at that time, but where I [sic] was from that was within towns--like separate schools and rest rooms--not whole towns themselves. Plus we were lead to think that the north was "better" than the south when it came to race relations. So this sign shocked me and I asked my mother about it......etc." One final typed sheet catalogs the contents of the archive in a highly academic way. All items in near fine condition. Item #14769

Price: $1,950.00

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