Key Highlights About Annie Greene Nelson
- First African American South Carolina Woman to Publish a Novel
- Attended college at age eighty to take courses in drama
- Taught school and worked as a nurse for almost twenty years
Nelson was born in Darlington County on December 5, 1902. She was the oldest of fourteen children born to Sylvester and Nancy Greene.
Greene received her education at a school on the Parrots’ Plantation. She overcame an impoverished childhood and later attended Benedict College and earned a degree in both education and nursing from Voorhees College in 1923.
Nelson’s public writing career began in 1925 when her poem “What Do You Think of Mother” was published in the Palmetto Leader newspaper. She later wrote three novels: After the Storm (1942), The Dawn Appears (1944), and Don’t Walk on My Dreams (1961). All three were reprinted in 1976. To Paw with Love is an autobiographical account of her own upbringing.
Nelson also wrote two plays: Weary Fireside Blues, produced off-Broadway, and The Parrots’ Plantation. In the early 1990s, just prior to her death, she worked on her manuscript Eighty, So What? using the optimistic tone for which her writing was known. Nelson’s writing typically recounts what life was like for ordinary African Americans of her community.
At age eighty, she took courses in drama at the University of South Carolina. She taught school in Darlington and Richland Counties and worked as a nurse for several Columbia area hospitals for almost twenty years. She received the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award, an annual recognition given by Friends of the Richland County Public Library. She was also honored with the P. Scott Kennedy Award for her contributions to African American theater. Annie Nelson died in 1993.