Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was a prominent African-American author, poet, journalist, and activist. She played a significant role in the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural and intellectual movement centered in New York City, during the early 20th century.
Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her African-American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understanding of gender, race, and ethnicity, subjects she often addressed in her work.
Alice Dunbar-Nelson attended segregated schools in New Orleans and later studied at Straight University. Then, she taught in the New Orleans public schools.
Dunbar-Nelson published her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895) when she was just 20. This collection of short stories dealt with the themes of race, colorism, and women's experiences, showcasing her keen observation and understanding of societal dynamics.
Her second, The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories (1899) explored the lives of Creole and anglicized characters.
Dunbar-Nelson worked in many genres but was best known for her prose. She was politically active, organizing for the women’s suffrage movement in the mid-Atlantic states. She also campaigned for the passage of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill of 1924.
In her later years, she published poetry in Black newspapers such as the Crisis, Ebony and Topaz, and Opportunity. She also edited The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer (1920) and, with Nelson, coedited the Wilmington Advocate.
Alice Dunbar-Nelson died in Philadelphia.