Gwendolyn B. Bennett (July 8, 1902 – May 30, 1981) was an African American writer who contributed to Opportunity, which chronicled cultural advancements in Harlem. Though often overlooked, she herself made considerable accomplishments in poetry and prose. She is perhaps best known for her short story, "Wedding Day', which was published in the first issue of Fire!!.
Early life and work
Gwendolyn B. Bennett was born July 8, 1902 in Giddings, Texas to Joshua and Maime Bennett. She spent her early childhood in Wadsworth, Nevada on the Paiute Indian Reservation. Her parents taught in the Indian Service for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1906, when Bennett was four years old, her family moved to Washington D.C. so Joshua could study law and Maime could train to be a beautician. The move eventually led to her parents' divorce when Bennett was seven years old. Maime gained custody of Bennett, however her father kidnapped her and they lived in hiding, along with her stepmother, Marechal Neil, along the East Coast and Pennsylvania. Her father eventually took them to New York where she attended Brooklyn's Girls' High from 1918 till 1921. While attending Girls' High, Bennett was awarded first place in a school wide art contest, and was the first African American to join the literary and drama societies. She wrote her high school play and was also featured as an actress. She also wrote both the class graduation speech and the words to the graduation song.
Read Gwendolyn Bennett's poems, free from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain's' Modern American Poetry project.