Four Chicago Writers Who Changed America

Lorraine Hansberry Studs Terkel Gwendolyn Brooks Richard Wright

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"All travelers to my city should ride the elevated trains that race along the back ways of Chicago.
The lives you can look into!"
-Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun, helped push enactment of a national fair housing policy.

Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel changed how history is written by seeking out and recording the lives of "uncelebrated" people who could speak for themselves, but had rarely been asked.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks broke the color barrier for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and mentored many younger writers and poets, including Nikki Giovanni, Etheridge Knight, and Haki Madhubuti (Don Luther Lee).

Richard Wright

Richard Wright's novels and memoirs spotlighted American race relations and helped lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement.

Rutledge Writing Awards

Read about the contest for Chicago high school students.

This exhibit features four great writers who changed America by telling stories about the people they lived and worked with in Chicago-their hopes and dreams as well as the barriers they encountered and fought.

Their writing inspired social change that has made America a better, more tolerant society.

These four authors lived where you live and walked the same streets. They attended local schools and used the libraries that we continue to use today.

They made everyday city life the subject of their writing. They challenged the status quo.

This exhibit is your invitation to read these authors. Perhaps they will inspire you to change America-or become a writer yourself. In one way or the other, we promise that the experience of reading Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Studs Terkel will move you to see your neighborhood and city in new ways.

From Our Neighborhoods is cosponsored by the Chicago History Museum, and is funded through the generous support of the Chicago Community Trust and the S&C Electric Company Foundation.

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