African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

Gwendolyn B. Bennett, Biographical Note in "Caroling Dusk" (1927)

GWENDOLYN B. BENNETT was born in Giddings, Texas, on July 8th, 1902. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a school teacher. She received her elementary training in the Public Schools of Washington, D. C., and Harrisburg, Pa. She was graduated from the Girls' High School in Brooklyn, New York, during January, 1921.

While she was in attendance there she was a member of the Felter Literary Society and the Girls' High School
Dramatic Society, being the first Negro girl to have been elected to either of these societies. In an open contest
she was awarded the first prize for a poster bearing the slogan Fresh Air Prevents Tuberculosis.

She matriculated in the Fine Arts Department of Teachers' College, Columbia University, where she remained for two years. She then entered the Normal Art Course at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. She was the author of her class play each of the two years she was there. In her Junior Year she played the leading part in the play which she had herself written. She was graduated from Pratt Institute June 1924. She then became a member of the Howard University Faculty in Fine Arts as Instructor in Design, Water-color and Crafts. During the Christmas holidays of the school year 1924-25 Miss Bennett was awarded the Thousand Dollar Foreign Scholarship by the Alpha Sigma Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at its Annual Convention held in New York City.

She sailed for Cherbourg, France on June fifteenth, 1925. While in Paris she studied at the Académie Julian,
The Académie Coloraossi and the École de Pantheon. Through the influence of Konrad Bercovici she was thrown in contact with the artist, Frans Masereel, one of France's best known modern painters. M. and Mme. Masereel offered Miss Bennett the hospitality of their home and together with their circle of friends did much to encourage her in her work while in Paris. She returned to America during June 1926.

For the summer of 1926 she was employed at the Opportunity magazine where she acted in the capacity of Assistant to the Editor. September 1926 she returned to Howard University where she resumed her classroom
work after a year's leave of absence.

Published in Caroling Dusk1927