Black History Month: Amanda Gorman
Black History Month pays tribute to the accomplishments and inspirational changes Black people have contributed throughout the world. Among those accomplishments are advancements in poetry, literature, and art, and Amanda Gorman is a prime example of such.
Amanda Gorman, born on March 7, 1998, is an American writer, poet, and activist. Gorman is the youngest person to ever read a poem at a presidential inauguration and has written for esteemed publications such as the New York Times, with three books of her own coming out this year.
Gorman was the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate, a national award given to young people who demonstrate skills in art and are also involved in social justice, which she received at 16 years old. Gorman’s works explore powerful themes such as racism, feminism, and oppression. Her debut book that was published when she was 17 years old, entitled The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough, has sold over one million copies worldwide and focuses on being courageous and resilient through tough times.
Her works have gotten the attention of notable public figures such as actor and songwriter Lin- Manuel Miranda, whose work from Hamilton Gorman quoted, education activist and feminist Malala Yousafzai, and former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. She has also performed for the Obama administration and for former Vice President Al Gore. After watching her performance at the Library of Archives in 2017, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden became a fan of Gorman’s and invited her to perform at the inauguration on January 20th.
Gorman is a graduate of Harvard University with a major in Sociology. Currently, Gorman is the youngest board member out of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States at only 22 years old.
According to Reader’s Digest, Gorman is the recipient of several prestigious awards and mentions, such as receiving the OZY Genius Award, an award given to 10 college students up to $10,000 to pursue their passion in 2017, being named one of Glamour magazine’s College Women of the Year in 2018, being featured in The Roots’ “Young Futurists” list, which is composed of the names of 25 promising young Black activists, and reading at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2021.
She hopes to run for president as soon as she is eligible in 2036. Watching Vice President Kamala Harris swear in cemented this dream in Gorman’s head and makes it feel more realistic.
I picked Amanda Gorman to highlight this Black History Month because I believe she is the voice of a generation. Her words and poems are effectively written and phrased. Her work is powerful, representative, and wise beyond her years.
A quote by Gorman, from The Hill We Climb, her poem from the inauguration, “We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.” I love this quote because it is representative of Gorman as a person and her work, as well as the world right now.