Laura McShane
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Upper Primary
  • Civil_rights
  • Harlem_Renaissance
  • Nikki_Grimes
  • Poetry
  • Women's_history
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Explore Poetry by Women of the Harlem Renaissance

    Explore Poetry by Women of the Harlem Renaissance


    Legacy is a treasury of important women poets. Nikki Grimes brings their voices alive again in this adaption of their work that incorporates their stories and words into new poems. The "Golden Shovel" technique used here allows educators to challenge students to create their own poems from these classics.

    Legacy : Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

    In Legacy - Nikki Grimes revisits the poetry of women poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
    Featured poets:

    Gwendolyn Bennett, 1902-1981
    Mae V, Cowdery, 1909-1953
    Clarissa Scott Delany, 1901-1927
    Blanche Taylor Dickinson, 1896-?
    Alice Dunbar-Nelson, 1875-1935
    Jessie Redmon Fauset, 1882-1961
    Angelina Weld Grimke, 1880-1958
    Georgia Douglas Johnson, 1880-1966
    Helene Johnson, 1906-1995
    Gertrude Parthenia McBrown, 1902-1989
    Effie Lee Newsome, 1885-1979
    Esther Popel, 1896-1958
    Ida Rowland, 1904-?
    Anne Spencer, 1882-1975
    Lucy Ariel Williams/Ariel Williams Holloway, 1905-1973

    Please see this link to the book and biographies of each poet:


    Featuring artwork by some of today's most exciting Black women: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Xia Gordon, April Harrison, Vashti Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Cathy Ann Johnson, Keisha Morris, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Erin Robinson, Shadra Strickland, Nicole Tadgell, Elizabeth Zunon.



    Nikki Grimes is one of America's most prolific and gift poets. She is a generous educator with materials freely available to the community at  

    This guide is intended to support her book:

    Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
    written by Nikki Grimes
    illustrated by female African-American artists
    Bloomsbury Children's Books, January 5, 2021
    ISBN 978-1681199443

    Legacy: Women of the Harlem Renaissance

    About the Book

    For centuries, accomplished women—of all races—have fallen out of the historical records. The same is true for gifted, prolific, women poets of the Harlem Renaissance who are little known, especially as compared to their male counterparts.

    In this poetry collection, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses "The Golden Shovel" poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of these groundbreaking women-and to introduce readers to their work.

    Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today's most exciting female African-American illustrators, including: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi Cabrera, Pat Cummings, Nina Crews, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, April Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Keisha Morrison, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

    Legacy also includes a foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, and poet biographies, which make this a wonderful resource and a book to cherish.

    Gwendolyn B. Bennett (1902-1981)

    To a Dark Girl 

    I love you for your brownness,
    And the rounded darkness of your breast,
    I love you for the breaking sadness in your voice
    And shadows where your wayward eyelids rest.

    Something of old forgotten queens
    Lurks in the lithe abandon of your walk
    And something of the shackled slave
    Sobs in the rhythm of your talk.

    Oh, little brown girl, born for sorrow's mate,
    Keep all you have of queenliness,
    Forgetting that you once were slave,
    And let your full lips laugh at Fate!

    Gwendolyn Bennett