After the property of a poet and civil legal rights activist, the Anne Spencer Home and Back garden delivers a space to take it easy, reflect or generate when partaking with Lynchburg’s rich African American heritage. 

Anne Spencer, born in 1882, served as a poet, civil and women’s legal rights activist, instructor, librarian and gardener, according to the organization’s web page. She was section of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance and was amongst the founders of the Lynchburg chapter of the Countrywide Affiliation for the Improvement of Coloured Persons (NAACP). Anne Spencer’s poems, in excess of 30 of which were posted for the duration of her life time, notably appeared in publications by the NAACP. Her operate consisted mostly of biblical, mythological and yard themes. 

Anne Spencer’s spouse, Edward Spencer, made and developed the household at 1313 Pierce St. in what is now Lynchburg’s historic district. They lived in the property for 72 several years, welcoming numerous intellectuals and African Individuals who were barred from accommodations by segregation regulations. 

Anne Spencer’s home and yard is now a museum directed by her granddaughter Shaun Spencer-Hester. The household and garden had been designated a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1976 and are integrated on the Countrywide Register of Historic Areas. The Hillside Backyard garden Club, a neighborhood yard club under the Backyard Club of Virginia, maintains the backyard garden. All of the roses in the back garden, as well as lots of of the bulbs, flowers and shrubs, have been planted by Anne Spencer.

Due to the fact its restoration in 1984, the Lynchburg neighborhood has used Anne Spencer’s garden for a vast selection of things to do this sort of as poetry readings, spoken word performances and weddings. Musicians come to participate in their devices, artists established up easels and photographers take wedding, engagement and graduation shots in the garden. 

Anne Spencer with her husband and two grandchildren.

The backyard garden tends to make a tranquil area for learners to review (it has Wi-Fi), have a picnic or stroll through to discover far more about Anne Spencer and African American heritage. It gives seating, a pond and a self-guided informative tour. Regardless of becoming situated on private assets, it is a general public garden. 

“Students can be creative in how they want to use that space,” Spencer-Hester said. “We want them to know that they’re free to appear sunrise to sunset seven times a week to love the back garden.”

And although pupils are inspired to appreciate this distinctive piece of Lynchburg’s historical past, they can also perform a job in preserving it.

Everyone interested in hands-on volunteer work in the yard can indication up for 1 of the Hillside Garden Club’s scheduled workdays. If unable to schedule all over one of these workdays, college students can also attain out to Spencer-Hester for other options to volunteer individually or as a team. Work is normally essential, she explained, these as raking leaves or placing down gravel in the walkways. Liberty pupils can get paid CSER hrs in the yard. 

“It’s actually significant to me and other men and women in the local community that the learners on these campuses appear in and have interaction with the group,” Spencer-Hester claimed. “This is a good way to do that, to master about the historical past and what the neighborhood is all about.” 

Renee Farmer is a Characteristic Reporter. Abide by her on Twitter at @reneefarmerr.