Alice Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans to a seamstress and a merchant marine. Though not a famous poetess, she was published and was an interesting woman. She used her life to help make the world a better place.
Alice was raised in creole culture and lived and worked in New York, Washington, DC and Wilmington, Delaware. She first became a teacher, and a journalist. She was also a political activist for African Americans’ and women’s causes. She also kept one of the surviving diaries of a 19th century black women.
I had not thought of violets late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets sly and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.