Notable African-American poet Effie Waller Smith was born in Pike County, Kentucky, to former slaves on Jan. 6, 1879. Smith began writing poetry at the age of 16 fashioning her style to Lord Alfred Tennyson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's works.
Smith published her first volume of poetry, Songs of the Month, in 1904 followed by Rhymes From the Cumberland and Rosemary and Pansies in 1909. She also wrote for Harper's Weekly and other regional newspapers and literary magazines. Smith published her last piece of work, Autumn Winds, in the September 1917 issue of Harper's Monthly.
She stopped writing six years after her husband, Deputy Sheriff Charles Smith, was killed on duty. She moved to Wisconsin in 1918 and died on Jan. 2, 1960.
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(Photo: Public Domain via Library of Congress)