George Marion McClellan was born on September 29, 1860, in Belfast, Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his bachelor of divinity from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. He was a teacher of Latin and English in Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1899 to 1911, before becoming the principal of Dunbar Public School.
A Congregational minister, teacher, and fiction writer, as well as a poet, McClellan published two poetry collections: Poems (A. M. E. Church Sunday School Union, 1895), which was later retitled Songs of a Southerner (Rockwell and Churchill, 1896), and his noted collection The Path of Dreams (John P. Morton & Co., 1916). He also published the fiction collection Old Greenbottom Inn and Other Stories in 1906, a tragedy about racial mixture and interracial romance. McClellan, though more obscure—as little is known about his life—is frequently compared to his contemporary Paul Laurence Dunbar, another distinguished African American poet of the time. McClellan died in 1934.