Carrie Williams Clifford (1862 – 1934) is the author of two books of poems, Race Rhymes (1911), and The Widening Light (1922). In addition, her short fiction, articles, and poems were published in Opportunity and The Crisis. She and her husband William Clifford (a lawyer) moved from Cleveland to DC around 1910, after the birth of their two sons. She hosted a Sunday evening salon in her home for African American artists and intellectuals (such as Mary Church Terrell, Alain Locke, William L. Hunt, Amanda Hilyer, Harry T. Burleigh, Will Marion Cook, and Georgia Douglas Johnson), and was active in groups advocating for civil rights and women’s rights, including the National Association of Colored Women and the NAACP.
In her preface to The Widening Light, Clifford wrote: “The author makes no claim to unusual poetic excellence or literary brilliance. She is seeking to call attention to a condition, which she, at least, considers serious. Knowing that this may often be done more impressively through rhyme that in an elegant prose, she has take this method to accomplish this end… The theme of the group here presented—the uplift of humanity—is the loftiest that can animate the heart and pen of man: the treatment, she trusts, is not wholly unworthy…she send these lines forth with the prayer that they may change some heart, or right some wrong.”