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Ruby Berkley Goodwin

Born: October 17, 1903 in Du Quoin, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Goodwin lived in DuQuoin until she was a teenager when her family moved to California.

Biography: Ruby Berkley Goodwin was an author and an actress. She remained unpublished until 1937, when she wrote a series of literary sketches about Black life. Then she wrote poems and articles for newspapers and magazines. Her last and most well-known book is a memoir, It's Good to be Black (1953).

The first collection of Goodwin's poetry, From My Kitchen Window (1942). A Gold Star Mother Speaks (1944) is a narrative poem about the highly publicized World War II deaths of the five Sullivan brothers, who had served in the Navy until their ship was sunk during a battle in the South Pacific. Her poem reflects their mother's incredible sense of loss, for she never dreamed her sacrifice would be so great. But of course, it's a poignant expression of the kind of loss that impacted so many women during that great conflict.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Website: view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-1600117

Selected Titles

It's Good to Be Black

DoubleDay 1953