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Black History Month: The Extraordinary Amanda Gorman

Updated: Mar 1, 2023


Amanda, her mom, and her twin sister, Gabrielle.
Amanda, her mom, and her twin sister, Gabrielle.

On March 7, 1998 in Los Angeles, California, Amanda S. C. Gorman was born--she was born prematurely and as a result, she suffered with a speech and auditory impediment during her childhood. Gorman and her two siblings were all raised by their single mother, Joan Wicks, a sixth-grade English teacher. Gorman started writing songs and poetry. In her youth, she was given limited access to television, only being able to watch 1940s sitcoms. She was required to give a social justice argument if she wanted to watch anything else. Her home life inspired her to develop her talents and further express her passions.


Gorman at the National Youth Poet Laureate Inauguration.
Gorman at the National Youth Poet Laureate Inauguration.

In 2013, Gorman became a youth delegate for the United Nations. Following this in 2014, she was declared the first youth poet laureate of Los Angeles. During this time, she worked with WriteGirl, a non-profit Los Angeles based organization to assist teen girls in their exploration of writing. After years with the non-profit, she published her first book, The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough, in 2015. She graduated from private K-12 school, New Roads, in 2016, received a scholarship, enrolled at Harvard University, and in the same year, founded One Pen One Page, a non-profit organization that promotes youth writing and leadership.


Gorman became the first named youth National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, and also became the first youth poet to open the season for the Library of Congress. She introduced Hillary Clinton at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards and also was given a grant of $10,000 at the Ozzy Genius Awards. In 2018, she was selected for Glamour magazine’s “College Women of the Year,” in 2019 she was selected for The Root magazine’s “Young Futurists,” and attended Milan Fashion Week where she was recruited by IMG Models.

Gorman delivering her speech at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Gorman delivering her speech at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration of President Joe Biden.

After delivering a virtual commencement speech in May 2020 for a web series, she graduated with her BA from Harvard University. Future First Lady Jill Biden heard this speech and invited Gorman to read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration for Future President Joe Biden. In February of 2021, she was also featured on Time magazine’s 100 Next list, and her profile was written by acclaimed Broadway actor, singer, and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the same month, she was commissioned to draft a poem to deliver in the pregame ceremony of Super Bowl LV. Since this, Gorman has published three books, and is continuing to write and inspire others. Now, at 24, Gorman has even expressed multiple times her desire to run for president in 2036.

Current photograph of Amanda S. C. Gorman.
Current photograph of Amanda S. C. Gorman.



“For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.” -- Amanda S. C. Gorman







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