October 1991

Annie Greene Nelson

Writer

Annie Greene Nelson

“If a person is going to write, it must be a compulsion. A book, a story is something that must be written so people can feel it, see it as it unfolds. The plantation life was one of my most favorite subjects–the faith, the struggle, the perseverance. They never gave up,– the strict morals–the hard work.. That is why I wrote “After The Storm.” Annie Green Nelson, South Carolina’s first known, published, female African-American author, was born December 5, 1902, in Darlington County, South Carolina. She was the oldest of 14 children of Sylvester and Nancy Greene. Her parents instilled honesty, truth, devotion and love. She always has had a keen mind and her earliest recollection can be traced to a remembrance at the age of one year and nine months. Her education started at a five-month school on the Parrot’s Plantation in Darlington County and later she attended Benedict College and Voorhees College. She studied drama at the University of South Carolina when she was 80 years old. Annie Green Nelson’s first published work, a poem entitled “What Do You Think of Mother” appeared in the Palmetto Leader newspaper in 1925. In part she said of her mother: So, while she lives be True, Remember, she’s the best thing on earth, So, honor, love and cherish The one who gave you birth. Mrs. Nelson’s first published book, After the Storm (1945), and subsequent books, The Dawn Appears, Don’t Walk on My Dreams, and Shadows of the South Land depict the lifestyles of average Black people. Her plays, Weary Fireside Blues, which was produced off-Broadway, and the ‘Parrots’ Plantation as well as her book, To Paw With Love, are autobiographical in that they reveal aspects of her triumphs and tragedies growing up in South Carolina. Always an optimist, Annie Greene Nelson is known for turning sorrow into laughter. Her latest manuscript, Eighty, So What’, indicates her ability to write about how great life can begin at 80. She has given readings all over the state. She is a recipient of many honors, including the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award presented annually by Friends of the Richland County Public Library and the P. Scott Kennedy Award for dedication and devotion to African-American theatre.