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Alice Dunbar-Nelson was a black mixed race woman who was born into and freed from slavery in her lifetime. Her nuanced diaries chronicle her failed marriages and detail her lesbian love relationships. In her lifetime she was an activist, educator, writer, poet, and rich diary keeper of her life. She was a part of a hidden network of black lesbian artists fore-running and spurring on the Harlem Renaissance from across the nation. Her lovers included: Fay Jackson Robinson; Los Angeles Journalist Edwina B. Kruse; Educator and Black Education Activist Helene Ricks London; Bermuda based artist Her sensuality informed a lot of her works including her short story, “Violets,” which parallels her own life of balancing marriages with men and affairs with women. Many of her works reference violets, denoted by the ancient Grecian poet Sappho as a symbol of love between women. This code for same-sex relationships and longings was a candid or covert admission of queerness, depending on the reader. She Wrote of Violets (Alice Dunbar-Nelson)
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