Posted: February 21, 2011 by Jay Rasean in Kasual
Jupiter Hammon
(1711 – 1806)

 “If we should ever get to Heaven, we shall find nobody to reproach us for being black, or for being slaves.” – Jupiter Hammon

Today’s topic of discussion is about a pioneer of African American literature, Jupiter Hammon. Hammon was a Poet who became the first African American to be published in America, when his poem–entitled “A Evening Thought“, appeared in print in 1760. Hammon was a slave from Long Island, New York. (I bet people forgot there were slaves in New York. There were slaves all over the United States, America was one big plantation). Jupiter’s father was an exceptional man named Opium; who unlike the average slave, could read and write. His son thankfully inherited his fathers learning abilities.

On September 24, 1786 , Hammon delivered his famous Address to the Negroes of the State of New York“, which is also known as the Hammon Address“. The Hammon Address, was geared toward the plentiful African American population in New York State. This speech contains the aforementioned quote placed at the beginning of this article, which pertains to slavery and how African Americans should maintain a highly moral composure, in light of the utterly exasperating hardships they faced. Hammon believed by enduring these conditions with faith and honor, they would be guaranteed a place in Heaven

Hammon was also an advocate for the emancipation of slaves; but because slavery was so prominent in the United States, he urged slaves to focus on being righteous individuals instead of worrying about their freedom. Hammon challenged African Americans to examine their strengths and remain vigilant throughout the extremely trying times of slavery. Being forced into a life of hard labor and varied injustices was a poor way to live; but in the end It will all work out in our favor–if we retain our morals. Hammon was an exceptional man who climbed up from the depths of oppression and obtained sufficient knowledge, and was gracious enough to spread awareness amongst his brothers and sisters. Jupiter Hammon, another reason why black history should be celebrated year ’round(K*W)

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