The First Black Authors In the United States

New York Culture
Photo byAnastasia Kazakova via Freepik

February is the Black History Month, a perfect time to self-educate and become more aware of the historical events pertaining to the black history in the United States. If I were to describe it in one phrase, it would be "slavery, oppression and discrimination." But hey! There are other topics we could discuss, one of them being the first black authors.

Have you ever thought about who was the very first black author in the United States? Here's the answer.

The first published Black author in the United States is a matter of debate, but one of the earliest known African American authors is Jupiter Hammon. Hammon was born into slavery in Long Island, New York, in 1711 and was considered a pioneer of African American literature.

Hammon's first published work, "An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York," appeared in 1787, and it was the first published work by an African American in the United States. In the address, Hammon encouraged African Americans to maintain their religious faith, practice good manners and become educated in order to better their lives and gain respect from white Americans.

It's important to note that Juniper was a poet, meaning if you search the first black American author who wrote prose, it might yield different results.

Another important early African American author was Phillis Wheatley, who was born in West Africa and brought to Boston as a slave in 1761. Wheatley was taught to read and write, and at the age of 13, she wrote her first poem. She went on to publish a book of poetry in 1773, which was well-received by both white and Black audiences. Wheatley's poems covered a variety of themes, including religious devotion, the American Revolution, and the abolition of slavery.

during this timehere were other black authors who made a contribution to book publishing in the US.

In the 19th century, Black authors continued to gain recognition for their literary contributions. Among the most important were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland but escaped to freedom in the North. He went on to become one of the leading figures in the abolitionist movement, and his 1845 autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," was a bestseller and is considered a classic of African American literature.

Jacobs, meanwhile, was born into slavery in North Carolina, and she escaped to the North in 1842. She went on to write "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," which was published in 1861 and is considered one of the most important slave narratives of the 19th century. In her book, Jacobs detailed her experiences as a slave, including the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her master and her eventual escape to freedom.

In the 20th century, African American literature continued to flourish, and Black authors were at the forefront of some of the most important literary movements of the time. One of the most influential was the Harlem Renaissance, which was a literary and cultural movement that took place in the 1920s and 1930s. Do you live in Harlem, NYC? If you do, you may have heard of Harlem Renaissance. If not, what better time to take a short commute to that part of the city and learn about the Black History?

During that time, Black authors, artists, and musicians produced a body of work that celebrated Black culture and challenged racial stereotypes. Some of the most important figures of the Harlem Renaissance include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Claude McKay.


Today, African American literature continues to be a vibrant and important part of American culture, and Black authors continue to make significant contributions to the field. In my opinion, their contributions have always been important. I wish it didn't take this much time for the world to finally see them.

Comments / 5

Published by

Follow us to read more about NYC. New York culture, art, history, modern trends, hot spots, food and interesting facts.


More from New York Culture

Comments / 0