About the Author - Anne Spencer

Anne Bethel Spencer (born Bannister; February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener. While a librarian at the all-black Dunbar High School, a position she held for 20 years, she supplemented the original three books by bringing others from her own collection at home. Though she lived outside New York City, the recognized center of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement, she was an important member of this grou...

Anne Bethel Spencer (born Bannister; February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener. While a librarian at the all-black Dunbar High School, a position she held for 20 years, she supplemented the original three books by bringing others from her own collection at home. Though she lived outside New York City, the recognized center of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement, she was an important member of this group of intellectuals. She met Edward Spencer while attending Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. Following their marriage in 1901, the couple moved into a house he built at 1313 Pierce Street, where they raised a family and lived for the remainder of their lives. Spencer holds an important place as a widely anthologized poet, and was the first Virginian and one of three African American women included in the highly influential Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1973). As a civil rights activist for equality and educational opportunities, she and her husband Edward, with close friend Mary Rice Hayes Allen and others, revived the chapter of the NAACP in Lynchburg, Virginia, which had begun in 1913. In association with James Weldon Johnson, the branch became fully active with ninety-six members as of July, 1918. The Spencers' home became an important center and intellectual salon for guests and dignitaries such as Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., James Weldon Johnson, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Anne Spencer also loved her garden and a cottage, Edankraal, which her husband Edward built for her as a writing studio in the garden behind their home. The name Edankraal combines Edward and Anne and kraal, the Afrikaans word for enclosure or corral.

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