Because blacks could not stay in local hotels, the home entertained the likes of Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes and Zora Neal Hurston, owned by the legendary Harlem Renaissance poet and activist, Anne Spencer. The home is located in the historical Pierce Street in Lynchburg, Va.
It was on my bucket list for the year, and my husband gave it to me as a christmas gift. The experience was a direct observation of the intersection of history and health equity. Everything about the home has affected my social determinants of health, in particular, education.
Although the home was closed when I arrived, the grounds were very much alive.
Anne Spencer was born Annie Bethel Bannister on February 6, 1882. She was the first minority librarian at the Jones-Dunbar branch library and the first Virginian to be published in the Norton Anthology. Her son, Chauncey Spencer, was one of the first members of the minority National Airmen’s Association, which later became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The home is a Virginia Historical Landmark. It opened as a museum in 1977 and rightfully so. The history was palpable, a reminder of how history elevates our today's and tomorrows.
Below is pictured the former home of Chauncey Spencer, Sr. the son of Anne Spencer. It is located across the street from the Anne Spencer Home. Chauncey lived here until his death in 2002.
The Pierce Street Renaissance Historic District is only two blocks long. The structures are not as significant as the lives of those who lived there, which is why it is a National Historic District.
As a storyteller it is impossible not to re-visit history. History is the story of who we are, where we come from, and can potentially reveal where we are headed. I am honored to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I hope you will visit.
Learn more about the home here.