Black poet Rita Dove becomes the first Black U.S. poet laureate.
1993 (May 18)
Librarian of Congress James Billington named forty-year-old Black poet Rita Dove as U.S. poet laureate. She was the first Black woman to serve in the ceremonial post. (Author Gwendolyn Brooks was a consultant on poetry to the Library of Congress before the poet laureate position was created.) The job of U.S. poet laureate—a term borrowed from the British—is to promote poetry through the library's literature programs and advise the library on literary matters.