of De Witt Williams on his way to Lincoln Cemetery

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
He was born in Alabama.   
He was bred in Illinois.   
He was nothing but a   
Plain black boy.

Swing low swing low sweet sweet chariot.   
Nothing but a plain black boy.

Drive him past the Pool Hall.   
Drive him past the Show.   
Blind within his casket,
But maybe he will know.

Down through Forty-seventh Street:   
Underneath the L,
And Northwest Corner, Prairie,   
That he loved so well.

Don’t forget the Dance Halls—
Warwick and Savoy,
Where he picked his women, where   
He drank his liquid joy.

Born in Alabama.
Bred in Illinois.
He was nothing but a   
Plain black boy.

Swing low swing low sweet sweet chariot.   
Nothing but a plain black boy.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “of DeWitt Williams on his way to Lincoln Cemetery” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Source: Selected Poems (1963)

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Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

Subjects Death, Social Commentaries, Living

Poetic Terms Elegy

 Gwendolyn  Brooks

Biography

Gwendolyn Brooks was a highly regarded, much-honored poet, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Many of Brooks's works display a political consciousness, especially those from the 1960s and later, with several of her poems reflecting the civil . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Death, Social Commentaries, Living

Poetic Terms Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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