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