Dolores Kendrick was born in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1927. Her mother was a music teacher, and her father founded a newspaper called the Capital Spotlight that served the city’s African American community. She graduated from Miner Teachers College in 1949.
Kendrick was the author of Why the Woman Is Singing on the Corner: A Verse Narrative (P. E. Randall, 2001); The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women (Morrow, 1989), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; Now Is the Thing to Praise (Lotus Press, 1984); and Through the Ceiling (Paul Breman Limited, 1975).
Of her work, Gwendolyn Brooks said, “Dolores Kendrick is one of the important writers of our times. Her work is careful, accessible, warmly aggressive.”
Kendrick taught in D.C. public schools for nineteen years and was one of the original teachers at the School Without Walls High School. In 1970, she received an MA in teaching from Georgetown University. Soon after, she moved to New Hampshire, where she taught at Phillips Exeter Academy for over twenty years. In the early 1990s, she returned to Washington, D.C. to focus on her writing.
She received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, she was appointed poet laureate of Washington, D.C. In this role, she created a poetry festival for high school students and an awards program for young poets. She served as poet laureate until her death on November 7, 2017.
Why the Woman Is Singing on the Corner: A Verse Narrative (P. E. Randall, 2001)
The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women (Morrow, 1989)
Now Is the Thing to Praise (Lotus Press, 1984)
Through the Ceiling (Paul Breman Limited, 1975)