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Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century

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Slaves in chains, toiling on master's plantation. Beatings, bloodied whips. This is what many of us envision when we think of 19th century African Americans; source materials penned by those who suffered in bondage validate this picture. Yet slavery was not the only identity of 19th century African Americans. Whether they were freeborn, self-liberated, or born in the years Slaves in chains, toiling on master's plantation. Beatings, bloodied whips. This is what many of us envision when we think of 19th century African Americans; source materials penned by those who suffered in bondage validate this picture. Yet slavery was not the only identity of 19th century African Americans. Whether they were freeborn, self-liberated, or born in the years after the Emancipation, African Americans had a rich cultural heritage all their own, a heritage largely subsumed in popular history and collective memory by the atrocity of slavery. The early 19th century birthed the nation's first black-owned periodicals, the first media spaces to provide primary outlets for the empowerment of African American voices. For many, poetry became this empowerment. Almost every black-owned periodical featured an open call for poetry, and African Americans, both free and enslaved, responded by submitting droves of poems for publication. Yet until now, these poems -- and an entire literary movement -- have been lost to modern readers. The poems in Voices Beyond Bondage address the horrific and the mundane, the humorous and the ordinary and the extraordinary. Authors wrote about slavery, but also about love, morality, politics, perseverance, nature, and God. These poems evidence authors who were passionate, dedicated, vocal, and above all resolute in a bravery which was both weapon and shield against a world of prejudice and inequity. These authors wrote to be heard; more than 150 years later it is at last time for us to listen.


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Slaves in chains, toiling on master's plantation. Beatings, bloodied whips. This is what many of us envision when we think of 19th century African Americans; source materials penned by those who suffered in bondage validate this picture. Yet slavery was not the only identity of 19th century African Americans. Whether they were freeborn, self-liberated, or born in the years Slaves in chains, toiling on master's plantation. Beatings, bloodied whips. This is what many of us envision when we think of 19th century African Americans; source materials penned by those who suffered in bondage validate this picture. Yet slavery was not the only identity of 19th century African Americans. Whether they were freeborn, self-liberated, or born in the years after the Emancipation, African Americans had a rich cultural heritage all their own, a heritage largely subsumed in popular history and collective memory by the atrocity of slavery. The early 19th century birthed the nation's first black-owned periodicals, the first media spaces to provide primary outlets for the empowerment of African American voices. For many, poetry became this empowerment. Almost every black-owned periodical featured an open call for poetry, and African Americans, both free and enslaved, responded by submitting droves of poems for publication. Yet until now, these poems -- and an entire literary movement -- have been lost to modern readers. The poems in Voices Beyond Bondage address the horrific and the mundane, the humorous and the ordinary and the extraordinary. Authors wrote about slavery, but also about love, morality, politics, perseverance, nature, and God. These poems evidence authors who were passionate, dedicated, vocal, and above all resolute in a bravery which was both weapon and shield against a world of prejudice and inequity. These authors wrote to be heard; more than 150 years later it is at last time for us to listen.

23 review for Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Great book, though uncomfortably omitted from this anthology is The Provincial Freedmen.

  2. 5 out of 5

    D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deborah James

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Dudgeon

  6. 5 out of 5

    Reynee Rainey

  7. 5 out of 5

    Louie DePasquale

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jane Mack

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vilo

  10. 5 out of 5

    Winter Peterson

  11. 4 out of 5

    C.René

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pettee Library

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wolfe

  14. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  15. 5 out of 5

    Addy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erin Smith

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ty Burshar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Casey

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jewell

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Ingwersen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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