Jupiter Hammon

b. 1711
Jupiter Hammon, the first published African American poet, was born into slavery at Henry Lloyd’s estate on Lloyd Neck, Long Island, New York. Hammon was purportedly allowed access to the manor library and was educated with the estate owner’s children, even working with Henry Lloyd in his business ventures. After Lloyd’s death, he lived with his son, Joseph Lloyd.
 
Hammon’s first work, the broadside An Evening Thought (also referred to as “An Evening Prayer” and “An Evening’s Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penitential Cries”), was published in 1760. Considered a religious poet, Hammon also served as a preacher to the other enslaved members of the Lloyd estate. He was a prominent member of the African American community, and in 1787 made a speech to the African Society of New York City titled “An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York.”
 
Jupiter Hammon was buried in an unmarked grave on the Lloyd estate.

Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1711–

Biography

Jupiter Hammon, the first published African American poet, was born into slavery at Henry Lloyd’s estate on Lloyd Neck, Long Island, New York. Hammon was purportedly allowed access to the manor library and was educated with the estate owner’s children, even working with Henry Lloyd in his business ventures. After Lloyd’s death, he lived with his son, Joseph Lloyd.
 
Hammon’s first work, the broadside An Evening Thought (also . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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