Little Known Black History Fact: The Lost Poem of Jupiter Hammon

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  • A grad student at the University of Texas in Arlington has found a rare new poem written by the first black published writer in America, Jupiter Hammon. Hammon was born into slavery in 1711. While researching Hammon’s poems, Julie McCown found the 200-plus-year-old manuscript buried in the archives at Yale University Library in Connecticut. The poem is dated November 1786 and was in near “perfect” condition according to UTA professor Cedrick May.

    Writings by Jupiter Hammon were last found in 1915.

    Interestingly, May is a professor of African American literature but McCowan studied Hammon’s writings as part of his electronic text design and web publishing class.

    In his first published book, Hammon referred to slavery as the will of God. That was in 1760. In this new poem, he refers to it as a man-made evil.

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