Clarissa Minnie Thompson Allen

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Clarissa Minnie Thompson Allen
Clarissa Thompson.jpg
Born Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Occupation Educator
Language English
Nationality United States
Citizenship United States
Education Howard Junior High School
Period 19th-century
Genres Fiction
Subject High society African American families
Notable work Treading the Winepress

Clarissa Minnie Thompson Allen (fl. 1885) was an American educator and author. She wrote fictional stories about wealthy African-American families in the American South.

Personal life[edit]

Clarissa Minnie Thompson Allen was the daughter of Eliza Henrietta Montgomery, a socialite, and Samuel Benjamin Thompson, a delegate in the South Carolina Constitutional Convention.[1] She was one of nine children and was born in Columbia, South Carolina.[1][2] She attended Howard Junior High School and a normal school in South Carolina. She worked at three different schools, including Allen University, where she taught subjects like algebra, Latin, physical geology, and history.[1][2] She moved to Jefferson, Texas, around 1886, where she taught at a public school. She also lived in Ft. Worth, Texas, and worked in the public school system.[1][2]


Allen wrote fiction based around true stories about wealthy African-American families in the Southern United States. Her most notable work was Treading the Winepress, also called A Mountain of Misfortune. The book consisted of 41 stories about two families. The stories took place in "Capitolia," which was based on Columbia, South Carolina. The book includes love triangles, murder, womanhood, charity, and madness.[1] It was a serialized publication.[2][2] She also wrote novelettes for Texas-based publications. Her poetry was also published in African American newspapers.[2] Some reviewers believed that her work was anti-religious, specifically towards the African Methodist Episcopal Church.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Shockley, Ann Allen. "Clarissa Minnie Thompson." Afro-American Women Writers. 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide. Boston: G.K. Hall (1988).
  • Wallace-Sanders, Kimberly. "Clarissa Minnie Thompson." Oxford Companion to African American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press (1997).


  1. ^ a b c d e f Yolanda Williams Page (30 January 2007). Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-313-33429-0. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu (April 2006). Writing African American Women. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-313-02462-7. Retrieved 13 November 2012.