The burgeoning civil rights movement influenced Brooks' independent period. No longer courting white readers, she produced The Bean Eaters (1960), a collection of idiosyncratic verse that editors often pilfer for representative black verse to flesh out multicultural texts. Buoyed by critical response to Selected Poems (1963), she wowed critics with a dark, groundbreaking ballad series, In the Mecca (1968), based on her secretarial work for an evangelist. The text is a sophisticated satire of city opulence from the vantage point of a domestic worker, Mrs. Sallie, who searches a city center for Pepita, her lost child. The narrative concludes with praise for black heroes Malcolm X and Medgar Evers.Brooks' verse sharpened in Riot (1969), Family Pictures (1970), Aloneness (1971), Broadside Treasury (1971), and Jump Bad (1971). This flood of new writings anticipated the height of her skills
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