She Never Quieted Her Literary Voice

old fashioned type writer sitting on a wooden desk
Leslie Taylor-Grover
July 21, 2022

Alice Dunbar Nelson was married to one of the greatest Black poets of all time, Paul Laurence Dunbar.  But a look below the surface revealed that everything was not as it seemed.

Her life with Paul Laurence Dunbar was filled with abuse and alcoholism. His doctor treated him with whiskey – a dreadful attempt to soothe the tuberculosis destroying his body. When he almost killed her in a fit of rage, she knew it was time to leave.

Nelson eventually remarried, but she never changed who she was. She was an advocate for women’s rights and an incredible writer in her own right. 

There was something else, too.

No matter how much opposition she faced from men or the white world, she kept writing, speaking out, and advocating for Black women. Even when she was sick and dying, she kept a diary and voiced her desire for liberation.

Nelson faced hardship, abuse, and rejection, trying to make her voice heard. Despite this, she kept pursuing her passion. We must remember that a racist, misogynist society will always seek to silence the voices of those they hate. Never keep quiet!

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