22 Facts About Anne Spencer


Anne Spencer was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance, known as the New Negro Movement, despite living in Virginia for most of her life, far from the center of the movement in New York.


Anne Spencer met Edward Spencer while attending Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.


Anne Spencer loved her garden and her cottage, Edankraal, which her husband Edward built for her as a writing studio in the garden behind their home.


Anne Spencer Bethel Bannister was born in Henry County, Virginia, to Joel Cephus Bannister and Sarah Louise Scales, African Americans who were determined to make a better life for their daughter.


Anne Spencer's parents worked on a plantation after their marriage.


Anne Spencer lodged in the home of the Dixie family while her mother worked as a cook at a local inn.


When Joel learned that Anne Spencer was not in school, he sent Sarah an ultimatum that Anne Spencer must attend school or he would take her back to live with him.


The library consisted of a rather small collection of books, which resulted in Anne Spencer bringing books from her own collection to add to the library.


Anne Spencer's literary life began while she was a student at the Virginia Seminary where she wrote her first poem, "the Skeptic," which is lost.


Anne Spencer continued to write poetry throughout her life, using any scrap of paper or garden catalogue page that was handy to record her thoughts.


Anne Spencer's poems spoke of race, nature, and the harsh realities of the world that she lived in.


Anne Spencer hosted James Weldon Johnson, a traveling representative for the NAACP.


Anne Spencer was 40 years old at the time her first poem was published.


The majority of Anne Spencer's work was published during the 1920s, during the Harlem Renaissance.


Anne Spencer's work was highly respected and through her poems she was able to touch on topics of race and nature, as well as themes of feminism.


Anne Spencer's work was notably featured in Alain Locke's famous anthology The New Negro: An Interpretation, which connected her to the lifeline of the Harlem Renaissance, despite the fact that she lived in Virginia, far from New York.


Anne Spencer earned herself a place in the esteemed Norton Anthology of American Poetry, making her the second African American to be featured in this work.


Anne Spencer was later featured in Shadowed Dreams: Women's Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance.


Anne Spencer died at the age of 93 on July 27,1975, and is buried in a family plot at Forest Hills Cemetery, Lynchburg alongside her husband Edward, who died in 1964.


The Lynchburg home in which Anne Spencer lived and worked is a museum, the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum.


Anne Spencer's papers, related family papers, and books from her personal library all reside at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.


In 2019, the United States Postal Service announced that Anne Spencer would be featured on a 2020 Forever stamp honoring figures of the Harlem Renaissance.