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African Americans launched their literature in North America during the second half of the 18th century, joining the war of words between England and its rebellious colonies with a special sense of mission. The earliest African American writers sought to demonstrate that the proposition “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence required that black Americans be extended the same human rights as those claimed by white Americans. Couching a social justice argument in the Christian gospel of the universal brotherhood of humanity, African-born Phillis Wheatley , enslaved in Boston , dedicated her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), the first African American book, to proving that “ Negros , black as Cain ,” were not inherently inferior to whites in matters of the spirit and thus could “join th’ angelic train” as spiritual equals to whites. Composing poems in a wide range of classical genres , Wheatley was determined to show by her mastery of form and metre, as well as by her pious and learned subjects, that a black poet was as capable of artistic expression as a white poet. Poems on Various Subjects provided a powerful argument against the proslavery contention that the failure of African peoples to write serious literature was proof of their intellectual inadequacies and their fitness for enslavement. The poetry and sermons of the Connecticut slave Jupiter Hammon (1711–1806?), though their major theme is the urgency of Christian conversion, buttressed the demand of early African American writers for literary recognition.


African american dating online

African american dating online



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