Bennett was born in 1902, in Texas, but was relocated to New York City in her preteens. She was a fabulously gifted student, and dually enrolled in Columbia and the Pratt Institute after high school, with the intention of pursuing fine art. It is worth noting that she was the first African-American in her school to join Drama & Fine Art societies. Upon graduating, she was instated as an Assistant Professor of Art at Howard University, and began to write poetry, pursue graphic design, and within a few years, became Assistant Editor at Opportunity magazine. This was her main method of publication in the height of the Harlem Renaissance. She led a long and fruitful career of writing and design, relocating several times up and down the east coast. She died in 1981, at 79 years old.
Bennett was firmly a contributor to the Harlem Renaissance, although her output is small in comparison to such prolific giants as her contemporaries – Langston Hughes, for example, immediately springs to mind. She was deeply committed to the furthering of African-Americans in the arts, and has been labeled as a female leader of the “New Negro” movement.
– Laurel Baker
Govan, Sandra Y. “GWENDOLYN BENNETT: DRAMATIC TENSION IN HER LIFE AND
ART.” The Langston Hughes Review, vol. 6, no. 2, 1987, pp. 29–35. JSTOR,
www.jstor.org/stable/26432836. Accessed 25 July 2020.
Hoffmann, Leonore. “The Diaries of Gwendolyn Bennett.” Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 3/4, 1989, pp. 66–73. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40003093. Accessed 25 July 2020.
Govan, Sandra Y. Gwendolyn Bennett: Portrait of an Artist Lost. , 1980. Print.
Trotman, C J. Langston Hughes: The Man, His Art, and His Continuing Influence. “Kindred
Spirits and Sympathetic Souls: Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Bennett in the Harlem
Renaissance.” New York, NY: Garland, 1995. Print.