Poet, essayist, diarist, and activist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mixed-race parents. Her African American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understandings of gender, race, and ethnicity, subjects she often addressed in her work. Her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895), was published when she was just 20. A writer of short stories, essays, and poems, Dunbar-Nelson was comfortable in many genres but was best known for her prose. One of the few female African American diarists of the early 20th century, she portrays the complicated reality of African American women and intellectuals, addressing topics such as racism, oppression, family, work, and sexuality. In 1898 she married the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; they separated in 1902, and Dunbar-Nelson married twice more.