Download Full Text (5.0 MB)


Presented on Friday, February 21 as part of Messiah College’s 2020 Humanities Symposium. This exhibit, “Vulnerabilities & Securities in Historic Harrisburg: From Abolition to Suffrage,” was produced by the Center for Public Humanities Student Fellows and Dr. Sarah Myers’s Public History Class.

In 1895, Alice Dunbar-Nelson published her first collection of short stories and poems, Violets and Other Tales. She also published a few plays, such as Mine Eyes Have Seen (1918) in The Crisis, the official magazine of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People. Dunbar-Nelson often used her creative works to address racism and limitations placed on women. Her poem "I Sit and Sew" expresses anguish about the way that society prevented African-American military nurses from serving in World War I. In her poem "Memoriam, " Dunbar-Nelson critiques the ways that society belittles women.

Publication Date



Digital Harrisburg, women, urban, diversity, multicultural, Messiah College, Messiah University, Pennsylvania


African American Studies | United States History | Women's History

The Political Pen: Alice Dunbar-Nelson