First African-American Poet Still Showing New Work | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

Filed Under:

First African-American Poet Still Showing New Work

Play associated audio

It's the handwriting that stands out to Cedrick May.

As an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Arlington, he assigned his doctoral students to find some of the known works by Jupiter Hammon – the first published African-American poet in history.

What one student ended up finding was a previously unpublished piece by the poet that shows how deeply he thought about the intersection between slavery and religion.

"He's defining slavery as sin for the first time," says Professor May. "He's defying the idea that you can have slavery and be Christian at the same time."

But Jupiter Hammon's handwriting – which, according to Professor May, was better than his masters' – along with the watermarks, and smudges, are what make this document special. "To hold it," says Professor May "was quite an emotional experience in many ways because this is a part of our collective cultural history as Americans."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Doing The Hard Work Of Becoming A 'Real Man'

The process of becoming a man isn't always an easy one, but poet Saeed Jones says that reading Real Man Adventures by T Cooper, can make the journey more joyful.
NPR

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

Saffron, vanilla, palm oil, cacao and cottonseed oil are still picked by hand in some parts of the world. Sometimes that manual labor shows up in the price of the food; sometimes it doesn't.
NPR

Guns Boom In 2014 Campaign Ads

Ads with candidates shooting guns are proliferating this year, and it can all be traced back to Sen. Joe Manchin's famed 2010 spot titled "Dead Aim."
NPR

Why Do We Blindly Sign Terms Of Service Agreements?

Audie Cornish talks with University of Chicago Law School professor Omri Ben-Shahar about terms of service agreements for software and websites.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.