Anne Bethel Spencer (born Bannister; February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener. While a librarian at the all-black Dunbar High School, a position she held for 20 years, she supplemented the original three books by bringing others from her own collection at home. Though she lived outside New York City, the recognized center of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement, she was an important member of this group of intellectuals. Following her marriage to Edward Spencer in 1901, the couple moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where they raised a family and lived for the reminder of their lives.
As a poet, Spencer holds an important place as the first Virginian and first African American to have her poetry included in the highly influential Norton Anthology of American Poetry. As a civil rights activist for equality and educational opportunities, she and her husband Edward worked in association with James Weldon Johnson to develop a chapter of the NAACP in Lynchburg, Virginia, where their home became an important center and intellectual salon for Spencer's guests and dignitaries such as Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Weldon Johnson, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Anne Spencer also loved her garden and a cottage, Edankraal, which her husband Edward built for her in the garden behind their home. The name Edankraal combines Edward and Anne and kraal, the Afrikaans word for enclosure or corral.