September 19, 2021

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Civil Right’s Activist Household Is Crammed With Loaded Background

At the time the property of a poet and civil rights activist, the Anne Spencer Household and Back garden delivers a house to relax, mirror or make even though participating with Lynchburg’s abundant African American record. 

Anne Spencer, born in 1882, served as a poet, civil and women’s legal rights activist, instructor, librarian and gardener, in accordance to the organization’s web-site. She was part of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance and was among the founders of the Lynchburg chapter of the National Affiliation for the Improvement of Colored People today (NAACP). Anne Spencer’s poems, above 30 of which were published all through her life span, notably appeared in publications by the NAACP. Her do the job consisted mainly of biblical, mythological and backyard themes. 

Anne Spencer’s husband, Edward Spencer, made and developed the household at 1313 Pierce St. in what is now Lynchburg’s historic district. They lived in the home for 72 decades, welcoming lots of intellectuals and African Individuals who ended up barred from resorts by segregation legislation. 

Anne Spencer’s home and garden is now a museum directed by her granddaughter Shaun Spencer-Hester. The property and backyard had been designated a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1976 and are involved on the Countrywide Register of Historic Destinations. The Hillside Back garden Club, a nearby yard club less than the Back garden Club of Virginia, maintains the yard. All of the roses in the yard, as well as quite a few of the bulbs, flowers and shrubs, were being planted by Anne Spencer.

Considering that its restoration in 1984, the Lynchburg local community has used Anne Spencer’s yard for a vast wide range of functions these as poetry readings, spoken term performances and weddings. Musicians appear to engage in their instruments, artists established up easels and photographers take marriage, engagement and graduation photographs in the back garden. 

Anne Spencer with her spouse and two grandchildren.

The garden tends to make a tranquil house for college students to review (it has Wi-Fi), have a picnic or stroll as a result of to master a lot more about Anne Spencer and African American record. It gives seating, a pond and a self-guided informative tour. In spite of being found on non-public residence, it is a public backyard. 

“Students can be inventive in how they want to use that house,” Spencer-Hester reported. “We want them to know that they are free of charge to appear sunrise to sunset 7 times a week to appreciate the backyard garden.”

And while students are encouraged to delight in this exceptional piece of Lynchburg’s historical past, they can also participate in a part in preserving it.

Any one intrigued in arms-on volunteer get the job done in the back garden can sign up for a person of the Hillside Garden Club’s scheduled workdays. If not able to program close to a person of these workdays, college students can also achieve out to Spencer-Hester for other prospects to volunteer individually or as a group. Perform is generally desired, she reported, these types of as raking leaves or placing down gravel in the walkways. Liberty college students can receive CSER several hours in the garden. 

“It’s actually important to me and other men and women in the group that the students on these campuses occur in and have interaction with the group,” Spencer-Hester claimed. “This is a great way to do that, to learn about the heritage and what the community is all about.” 

Renee Farmer is a Attribute Reporter. Stick to her on Twitter at @reneefarmerr.