Harlem Renaissance: Fiction and Poetry - Research Article from Harlem Renaissance

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Early African American Writing

Even when most of America's black population was held fast within the brutal bonds of slavery, the storytellers and writers among them were carrying on their craft. In 1771 Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753–1784) became the first African American to have her poems published. Other blacks produced slave narratives—real-life stories about their lives as slaves—that were printed and distributed with the help of abolitionists (people who opposed and worked to end slavery). In 1847 the great African American leader Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) published a newspaper called North Star, and over the following decade the first novels by black American authors appeared in print.

In 1853 William Wells Brown's (c. 1816–1884)Clotel; or, The President's Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States was published outside the United States. (Brown could find no American publisher willing to publish his work...

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This section contains 8,812 words
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Buy the Harlem Renaissance: Fiction and Poetry Encyclopedia Article
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Harlem Renaissance: Fiction and Poetry from Harlem Renaissance. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.
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